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Arnold Allen Knows It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Riddled With Delays And Setbacks, Arnold Allen's UFC Career So Far Has Required A Lot Of Patience. But The Brit Wants To Build Momentum And Extend His 7-Fight Win Streak Saturday

It was just another fine Canadian spring day when Arnold Allen went out for his 5K run — a new staple of his isolated training regimen.

Before he knew it, he had blown past the five and even 20-kilometer marks, and thought to himself, like any casual runner would, “Well, I might as well go for the marathon.”

Of course, he had to call his girlfriend to alert her to the fact that he wouldn’t be home for a few hours, and to let her know that, at some point, he might need to be brought water.

Don't Miss UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland on ABC/ESPN+

But worry not, despite running the 26.2 miles with minimal prior training, Allen was sure to not miss a single training session afterwards.

Arnold Allen Is Ready To Make His Run | UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Holland
Arnold Allen Is Ready To Make His Run | UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Holland
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British Featherweight prospect Arnold Allen believes now is the time to make a statement to the rest of the division that he is ready to compete with the very best.


“I had this thing, where because everything was shut, I told myself I had to train at a certain time every day. I had a schedule,” Allen explained. “I did the marathon in the morning and then at 5 p.m. I was like, ‘I have to train.’ I was sitting there, I could barely walk, and I was hobbling around the house, and I was saying ‘I have to do my five-round shadowboxing, my workout.’ I got it done, but it was pretty rough.”

Describing his training situation during the thick of the COVID shutdowns in Canada as “being stuck in a sort of limbo,” Allen was determined to stay on track with his training, eager to fight more than once in a year for the first time in his career since 2014 after picking up a victory over UFC veteran Nik Lentz in January of 2020.

The Venum Era Has Arrived

But 2020 was for “Almighty” just as it was for people across most of the world, and he’d stay stuck in the void of uncertainty due to travel restrictions and visa issues for the remainder of the year.

Arnold Allen of England punches Nik Lentz in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at PNC Arena on January 25, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Arnold Allen of England punches Nik Lentz in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at PNC Arena on January 25, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“It’s kind of just become where things sort of happen and I’m just like, [sighs] ‘Again?’ It’s very frustrating,” the 27-year-old said. “I’m always in the gym, always trying to improve, so I’m not getting worse by waiting. I have a lot of experience for a young guy in the UFC, as well, so I’m not worried about the experience; I’ve got the experience, but I just want to get the fights and get going, so hopefully this is the start of that.”

Allen’s résumé includes a nine-fight professional win streak, going undefeated in his seven UFC bouts, with wins over former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and now-retired longtime UFC roster resident Nik Lentz.

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“[Lentz] was the complete opposite of what we had prepared for,” the featherweight said. “But it was good to show that last minute I could go out and switch the game plan up and go against a tough veteran and get the win.”

Now a new type of test awaits Allen inside the Octagon in Sodiq Yusuff — an opponent ranked just one spot above the Brit.

“He’s good, very good. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s got a good style, he’s dangerous, good power, he’s tough, he’s gonna be there to win, that’s for sure. He’s not some over the hill veteran guy that’s had his day in the sun,” Allen said, visibly excited for a new type of challenge.

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“Everyone I’ve fought in the UFC has kind of been a wrestler or grappler. I fought Gilbert Melendez, he’s known as a brawler, but even with Gilbert, he was shooting on me, he was trying to take me down,” Allen explained. “So I had to kind of have a counter-wrestling style, which changes the striking a little bit. You’re not as aggressive, not able to commit to your punches as much.

“With Sodiq’s style, he won’t do that. He’ll be there to take my head off. So I’ll be able to show off some of my striking.”

In addition to showing off some skills that have been stylistically suppressed, Allen is determined to get the ball rolling in stringing together multiple fights this year.

Arnold Allen of England celebrates his submission victory over Mads Burnell in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at ECHO Arena on May 27, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Arnold Allen of England celebrates his submission victory over Mads Burnell in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at ECHO Arena on May 27, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

“I think it’s definitely time to make a push,” Allen said. “I’m not in a rush but it’s time to get going. I’m 27 now and I don’t like waiting all year to fight. I like fighting more than once a year, (preferably) three or four times.”

But first, Allen must get past the obstacle that lies in front of him this Saturday in his co-main event appearance: a highly anticipated matchup against yet another formidable opponent, this one on a six-fight win streak, also undefeated thus far in his UFC career.

“Everyone’s been saying whoever wins, we’d both have the top five next,” Allen said. “So that’s it, I’ve just gotta win and prove I deserve to be amongst those guys.”

The tenth-ranked featherweight knows that the road that lies ahead of him is a marathon, not a sprint - and that’s a good thing, because it’s a pace he’s become recently acquainted with.

Don't miss Allen in the Co-Main event this Saturday at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Holland, live on ABC/ESPN+. Main Card starts at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT, Preliminary Card begins 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT.