CALGARY ‚Äď Hakeem Dawodu insists his disastrous UFC debut was not an accurate representation of what he offers as a fighter. He intends on proving as much at UFC on FOX 30.
With no shortage of pre-fight hype on his side, Dawodu (7-1-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) failed to deliver in his bout against Danny Henry at UFC Fight Night 127 in March. He was dropped and choked out cold in a mere 39 seconds, spelling the end of the undefeated run to begin his career.
Not one to make excuses, Dawodu did admit preparation for his first UFC fight was far from perfect. He said he‚Äôs moved past it, though, adding that anyone judging him off the outcome of that fight will be in for a rude awakening when he meets Austin Arnett (15-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) on Saturday.
‚ÄúI knew I was slightly off,‚ÄĚ Dawodu told MMAjunkie. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to get into too many details. Camp wasn‚Äôt the way I wanted it to be. There was a few things I was dealing with, coming back home, rehabbing, being where I need to be. I kind of just let the past be the past. I knew that wasn‚Äôt the best representation of myself, but I‚Äôm not letting that affect me too much. People are going to be stupid if they judge me off that.‚ÄĚ
UFC on FOX 30 takes place at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The featherweight matchup between Dawodu and Arnett airs on FOX following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.
Dawodu, 27, said his loss to Henry was his first in combat sports competition since 2012, which woke him up. He said his spirit wasn‚Äôt broken ‚Äúat all,‚ÄĚ though, and knowing he‚Äôs fully prepared for UFC on FOX 30 has him primed for his first octagon triumph.
‚ÄúIt gives me a different level of confidence,‚ÄĚ Dawodu said. ‚ÄúTraining camp went exactly how I wanted it to go. I didn‚Äôt have to work around certain injuries. Definitely I feel like I‚Äôm back to the old.‚ÄĚ
Dawodu said he views the upcoming matchup with Arnett as one that slants in his favor. Couple that with the fact Dawodu is the hometown representative in Calgary, and he said he‚Äôs he expects a performance that shows the UFC audience what he‚Äôs truly about.
‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs a good matchup,‚ÄĚ Dawodu said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to give away too many details, but I‚Äôm definitely looking to put this guy away. ‚Ä¶ Of course you want to give your hometown something special, but I‚Äôm going to be patient and just treat this fight like every other fight.