It’s evident from pre-fight conversations with Brendan Allen that something is just different this go-round.
The typically light-hearted and fun-loving version of Allen must not have made the trip to Las Vegas for his showdown with André Muniz at UFC Fight Night: Krylov vs Spann, because “All In” is really all business.
The proud Louisiana native has benefitted from a full camp and believes he’s dialed in to deliver the biggest performance of his UFC career to date.
“I couldn’t be at a better point right now,” Allen told UFC.com. “I know I’m going to win. I can’t promise you how it’s going to happen, but I know I’m going to win. For 17 minutes I’m going to be focused and there are three fives (minute rounds) and two one-minute breaks. For 17 minutes I’m coming to whoop his a**. It’s that simple to me.”
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Allen enters this weekend’s bout with Muniz on a three-fight win streak and he knows that this fight has high stakes for the trajectory of his career.
“One of us is going to take that next step up,” Allen said. “One guy is going to stay the same or drop and the other is going to keep going and flourish and rise to the occasion to be the best.”
The 27-year-old middleweight has shown plenty of promise since joining the UFC in 2019, but he hasn’t been able to quite breakthrough and make the type of run he believes he is capable of making.
Allen feels that his physical skills and his mental skills are aligning at the right time for him to realize that potential. Part of making that jump was Allen hiring a sports psychologist to help him compartmentalize what he’s feeling in the lead-up to a fight and during the fight itself.
It was crucial for Allen to learn that the emotions he would try to shake off or hide from would haunt him during competition. Finding a way to deal with that anxiety and the emotions that come with fighting have helped him reach a new place and, in turn, become the best version of himself possible.
“The nerves are never going to stop; the emotions are never going to stop. They are always going to be there,” Allen said. “It’s how you deal with them, and I’m at the point now where I’m more mature and well-rounded to deal with those things.”
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Winning the mental game has always been Allen’s biggest hurdle, and with that squared away, he’s expecting to shine in Saturday’s co-main event.
“If I feel this way on fight night I’m going to walk through André,” Allen said. “It’s not even going to be a close fight. I’m going to finish him and it’s not going to be anything nice.”
Handing Muniz his first UFC loss would definitely send a message. Muniz’s five UFC victories have been dominant and have helped him achieve the No. 11 ranking in the middleweight division.
Allen doesn’t believe that Muniz has been truly tested and he’s intrigued to see what the Brazilian jiu jitsu ace does when he meets his match.
“What happens when you fight somebody who is better than you in every way?” Allen asked rhetorically. “One day that’s going to happen to me. What the f*** am I going to do?”
That’s one thing I like to see with other fighters and because I think I am better everywhere. We are going to see on Saturday if I can stop where he wants to go, if I can put him there after he doesn’t want to be there, if I’m hitting him and he doesn’t want to be hit. That’s what I want to find out.”
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If things go Allen’s way, it sounds like fight fans are going to learn a lot about André Muniz.
And that’s Allen’s goal.
Defeating an opponent who some consider a dark horse in the division and who has hype behind him is exactly what Allen wants. It’s the perfect chance for him to quickly go from the prospect with potential to be a serious contender to someone who is right in the mix with the best middleweights in the world.
All he has to do is show up with that Southern grit and do what he knows he’s capable of.
“I’m not coming to play, I’m not coming to joke, I’m not coming to pitter patter or to touch butt in the park, none of that. That’s not for me,” Allen said. “I’m coming to try to get him out of there. If he can handle 15 minutes, great, that’s fine, he’s going to take 15 minutes of an a** whoopin’ everywhere.”
I’m going to turn up on fight night and show how good I am.
UFC Fight Night: Muniz vs Allen took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 25, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!