Brendan Allen is at peace.
That’s not something you usually hear from a fighter who just lost in the UFC for the first time, but the truth is that Allen feels like the loss could have been what he needed.
At 3-0 in the UFC, Allen was riding high, ready for a crack at the top 15 and ready to finally fight Ian Heinisch. But the fight would fall through yet again, forcing Allen to accept a short-notice bout with Sean Strickland.
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“I think emotionally it was really tough to have it taken away from me again and I really didn’t know who Sean Strickland was, to be honest. I thought it was going to be a cakewalk,” Allen told UFC.com. “It was tough for me to wrap my head around missing out on the Top 15 opportunity. That was some immaturity there.”
Strickland knocked Allen out early in the second round, handing the 25-year-old a loss he didn’t see coming. Allen viewed the defeat as a learning experience, and he believes his mental fortitude will help him bounce back in a big way at UFC 261.
"He's looking to bounce-back hard and I'm definitely looking to bounce-back hard so I think this is one of those fights that's sleeping a bit on the card."@BrendanAllenMMA talks about his family and his match-up with Karl Roberson 🔊⬆️— UFC News (@UFCNews) April 22, 2021
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“I always come back stronger after losses and maybe that loss was the last thing I needed to go out there and fully be me. I’m so prepared and I have so much to offer and I’m just ready to get it done on Saturday,” Allen said. “For this one I feel super at peace, I would say. I’m very happy with where I’m at with training and how my body feels and my personal life. I feel very excited to go in with a full set of fans and get to work.”
UFC 261 will be the first UFC event to feature a full capacity crowd since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live events last year. Even Allen, who has never been one to really notice the crowd during his fights, is excited.
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“I don’t hear it when I’m fighting, I don’t feel anything, but it’s nice after the fight and for the walkout. I’m really looking forward to the walkout for this one and just feeling the vibe,” Allen said.
Allen, a Louisiana native, expects to have a handful of supporters in the venue to watch him take on Karl Roberson. A big win over Roberson will likely get Allen right back to where he was prior to a loss with Strickland - knocking on the door of the middleweight Top 15.
With that being said, Allen isn’t overlooking “Baby K” one bit.
“I know it’s going to be a good fight. I know he’s coming off his loss and he’s looking to bounce back hard and I’m definitely looking to bounce back hard, so I think this is one of those fights that’s sleeping a bit on the card. I think everyone that knows me, knows that when I come, I’m coming to fight no matter what. You’re going to know I was there at the end of it. All he can do is catch me,” Allen said. “With a good win over Karl Roberson, one that I make look good, then I can get a fight in that Top 15. Worst case it takes another fight, but I know it’s coming, and I’ll get it.”
“I expect a hard two rounds, but I don’t know if he can keep up with my pressure, my pace and my tenacity. I don’t think he has felt that. It’s just different.”
Make sure you watch Allen on the UFC 261 prelims which air live on ESPN at 7pm ET / 4pm PT.