Brendan Allen has always been a talented fighter. It’s why so many saw him as a no-brainer pick to get a UFC contract on this season of Dana White’s Contender Series.
But if the 23-year-old Louisianan has looked like a different beast on fight night as of late, maybe it’s because he’s been fighting with a proverbial ticking time bomb strapped to his back since early 2018.
“I’m very fortunate to have a backup plan and other things I want to do with my life, so ultimately, I was ready to pursue those ventures if I did lose on the Contender Series,” said Allen, who instead submitted Aaron Jeffery in less than four minutes in July 16, earning a UFC contract in the process.
Now that he’s reached the Octagon, Allen’s mindset has changed, as he says, “I’m gonna ride it out as long as I can, and when the wheels come off I’ll go to the next one.” But following a January 2018 loss to Anthony Hernandez that put his record at 8-3, with his only defeats coming to current UFC roster members Hernandez, Eryk Anders and Trevin Giles, he made a promise to himself.
“No matter what, if I lost before I got to the UFC, I wouldn’t fight anymore,” he said.
Allen has won four straight since the Hernandez fight, and that last victory got him into the UFC. Guess we’re stuck with him now.
“I’m gonna give it everything I got, just like I have since my last loss, and we’ll see where it takes me.”
His talent level is such that his final destination may be a world title. But that’s only a final stop in fighting. A young man with a Criminal Justice degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, Allen definitely comes off as someone who wants to attack the world and take it all in, even before his “old man strength” kicks in. Allen finds that concept amusing.
“The only thing I’m looking forward to when I get older is being fat and sitting on my front porch, yelling at my kids and my grandkids,” he laughs.
Speaking of kids, Allen and his wife are expecting their first child later this year, but he’s had a little practice with fatherhood by helping to take care of his nine-year-old niece. Tragically, his older brother – a United States Military vet – was paralyzed in a pool accident after he returned home, and Brendan stepped in to help his sibling in his time of need.
“I’ve been fortunate to raise her as my own, for the most part,” he said. “It’s great to be around her and we got super close. I had a lot of practice (being a dad); it’s fun though.”
If Allen sounds like the most mature 23-year-old you’ve ever encountered, you might be right. He won’t take credit for that, admitting that he likes to have fun and “look a little stupid” around friends and family, but he does know that he’s not exactly like his peers when it comes to the way he sees the world.
“I didn’t really have a lot of friends growing up,” he said. “We moved around a lot, so I didn’t really care. I don’t like a whole lot of people, to be honest. (Laughs) I don’t like crowds and stuff like that. I just saw things growing up, like kids and how they acted and things like that. And even though my dad didn’t think I was, I was always listening to him and trying to pay attention.
“I always wanted to be a father and have that bond and be able to share things through my life with them and influence them if I could,” Allen continues. “But ultimately, I just wanted to share my life with them for as long as I can. To have a child, I know I needed to be mature, I needed to get my crap together. I’m trying to do that, and I do all right for myself as far as maturity goes. But I do like to have fun every now and then.”
Yeah, this Brendan Allen kid is one of a kind. It’s going to be interesting seeing where his journey takes him – and us.