Charles Jourdain is the first one to tell you he is living his dream in the UFC, but a few days out from his July 16 bout with Shane Burgos, the Canadian woke up early after a nightmare.
“I was dreaming Shane Burgos was hitting me and I was on the fence,” Jourdain told UFC.com. “I have nightmares about it, and I love it because one day, it’s going to only be memories, and living that fast life of pirates and going left and right to fight these monsters. I couldn’t see having a better life than this.”
Although embracing night terrors seems a little odd, it is also a testament to the steeled mentality Jourdain has these days.
When he entered the UFC at 23 years old touted as one of the brightest prospects from up North, he struggled and only earned one win in his first four jaunts to the Octagon. However, he is 3-1 since March 2021 with two finishes, as well as his first professional decision win. As he approaches his toughest test at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs Rodriguez, Jourdain relates his evolution to the Dragonball series.
“Every time you’re pushed to your limits, that’s when you become Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan 3, Super Saiyan God,” he said. “There’s so many transformations. You get so many power-ups when you fight, and adversity is something people have the tendency to shy away from, hiding from the fact that they’re anxious or stressed, but that’s what makes you grow. If we didn’t have stress, we wouldn’t exist as a species.”
As it stands, Jourdain says he is at Super Saiyan 3 right now, far from his peak. His self-belief, however, is higher than ever coming off a submission victory over Lando Vannata in April. The win via guillotine made Jourdain just the second man to finish Vannata, joining Tony Ferguson in rarified company.
Finishing “Groovy” is definitely an accomplishment on which to hang one’s hat, and Jourdain accepts the difficult reality that comes in tandem with impressive victories.
“My preparations just became harder knowing that every time I fight and I win, I’m just fighting bigger and bigger monsters,” Jourdain said. “When they call me and they say, ‘Hey, do you want to fight “Hurricane” Shane Burgos? Not many people want to fight him.’ I was like, ‘(Gasps) Of course.’ Now I know that I can submit these guys and knock them out, I’m pretty confident going into that horrible matchup.”
This fight has some extra sauce on it for a couple of reasons. First, Jourdain lauds Burgos for his ability to eat shots (often with a smile) and remain in constant forward motion. Second, the fight takes place in Burgos’ home state of New York, and while Jourdain has experience fighting in enemy territory (Desmond Green in Rochester, New York, and Dooho Choi in Korea), he is eager to feel the energy the Bronx native cultivates inside UBS Arena.
To his credit, Jourdain brings his own spice to the matchup in what should be an all-action war of a fight. It’s a fight which, once it was announced, immediately became a must-watch affair and an early choice for Fight of the Night.
“When people heard about the fight, my phone started exploding,” Jourdain said. “I was very happy about it. I get recognized more and more, and also, I need to respect Shane for allowing me to get to that position. He could’ve said, ‘No, I want guys higher ranked than me.’ He said, ‘No, I want to fight that young, crazy kid from Canada.’ I am very grateful about that opportunity.”
The matchup is without a doubt a dangerous one for Burgos and a huge opportunity for Jourdain. Because of inconsistency early in his career, it’s easy to forget the Canadian is only 26 years old. In his recent fights, however, Jourdain’s confidence is plain to see from the way he carries himself during fight week to the demeanor he adopts throughout a contest.
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He’ll need every bit of that against Burgos’ swarming pressure and nonstop motor. The New Yorker will plant himself in front of Jourdain and give Jourdain plenty of opportunities to connect, and the way Jourdain is feeling now, it seems he’s ready for that kind of brawl.
“I can know every time I touch with my left hand right on the chin, they go down,” Jourdain said. “If I go full-power, and he smiles at me, you guys are going to be in for a very bloody night because I’m not going to give up, and he’s not going to, as well. It’s going to be very dangerous.
“I’m here more as a bounty hunter,” he continued. “(UFC) gave me a contract, and they say, ‘If you bring us this guy’s head, we’re going to give you this amount of money,’ and then I take the money and go away. I’m not chasing money. I’m chasing his head, and the money will come. If they give me a bonus, I’m not there for that. I’m here for Shane Burgos’ head.”
Even though the matchup projects as a standup battle, Burgos hasn’t shied from teasing a little use of his grappling abilities. Despite that, Jourdain hasn’t gone into a fight more confident in his defensive wrestling and submission abilities coming off his submission of Vannata.
In all, “Air” Jourdain is buzzing and seems primed to take another step toward fulfilling all the expectations he had coming into the promotion. When he looks back at the start of his career, he describes those days as “nothing compared to the man I am today,” lauding the adversity and challenges he faced as he tried to get his feet wet at the highest level.
Now, though, he’s a weathered, mature man and fighter who knows who he is and knows how to deliver in the spotlight. On July 16, he hopes to do that and more: put the featherweight division on notice.
“You guys know my style,” Jourdain said. “I like to stand-and-bang, but I won’t mind (Burgos) trying (to grapple). I’m either going to choke him out or knock him out, and when I do it, I’m going to raise my hand, look at the featherweight division and say, ‘Hey, there’s a 26-year-old little kid from the north who is coming for all of your heads, all of your bounties. I’m coming for everything.’”
UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs Rodriguez, took place live from the UBS Arena in Long Island, New York on July 16, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards, and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC FIGHT PASS!