Chris Daukaus doesn’t care about anything else but winning.
After dropping his last two fights against Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis, the heavyweight’s sole focus at UFC 282: Błachowicz vs Ankalaev is to get back in the win column. Prior to his bout against Lewis last December, Daukaus was on a five-fight win streak, earning three Performance of the Night bonuses.
“Nothing else matters as of now; I’m 0-2 in my last two, so I absolutely have to get a win,” Daukaus said. “I'm only focusing on this camp. Everything is really just driven around getting that win. I don't care about the time of day I have to go train, who I'm training with, what I'm doing, where I have to go. All I want is to win and that's really all that matters right now.”
Even though Daukaus’ last two fights didn’t go the way he had hoped, he still earned something that only some fighters experience during their career – headlining an event. After losing to Lewis, the 33-year-old didn’t expect to be the face on a poster so soon after, but just three months later, he was the man on the marquee.
“That's something that I'll always remember,” Daukaus said. “I have my own poster and everything like that. It's super cool and super awesome. The pressure that comes along with that, it's real. It's a real thing, but you just have to focus and enjoy it and enjoy life.”
The last time Daukaus stepped inside the Octagon was in March, and since then he spent time getting back into training, spending time with his family and focusing on what went wrong during his last two fights.
The time away has allowed Daukaus to reflect on the losses.
“I can't be too worried about what other people are going to do in the fight,” Daukaus said. “I just kind of have to fight my own fight. I was so concerned with the takedown (against Blaydes). That's really, I think, what the driving factor was for him being able to land the big shots, moves that I was concerned about throwing because I was expecting a takedown, but the best way for me to not do that is to just focus on me.”
The focus now turns to No. 8 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who is also coming into the fight on a two-fight losing streak. Even though Rozenstruik has had some struggles of his own inside the Octagon, Daukaus isn’t underestimating the power that he brings. The 34-year-old has earned 11 of his twelve wins by knockout, eight of them coming in the first round.
Daukaus has also secured 11 wins by knockout, with eight first-round finishes. All of his UFC bouts have ended within the first or second round, meanwhile, Rozenstruik has only gone the distance once in his UFC career and it was against Blaydes.
“(Rozenstruik) is one of the best in the world,” Daukaus said. “There's not a lot of people lining up to fight him. Super tough guy, super durable. I think he's got four losses and the people who beat him are the top guys, so I’m not only out to get a win, but looking to get a finish against him would be something really good and something to be super proud of.”
The two were originally scheduled to fight in October at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan, but the bout got moved to this weekend and Daukaus isn’t forgetting how much time has passed since the fight was originally scheduled.
“I think I'm that much more motivated than him,” Daukaus said. “I was ready to go, whatever happened with him happened with him, so nothing against him, but I think he probably needed more time.”
Daukaus is focused on putting on a great performance and getting back into the win column. He’s eager to fight in front of fans once again and to fight back inside T-Mobile Arena, an environment he believes can’t be matched in any other sport.
“Fighting in front of fans is awesome, especially the Vegas card and especially in the T-Mobile Arena,” Daukaus said. “My first one was against Shamil when Volkanovski fought Ortega, so that was awesome to be on that card. I hope the crowd's going to be the same with another title fight that night. It's something special to fight in front of a UFC crowd - there's really no sporting event like it. I'm really excited and I really hope that the crowd brings it because it's going to be fun.”
UFC 282: Błachowicz vs Ankalaev took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 10, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!