Coming off an impressive victory in October, UFC flyweight Cody Durden returns to the Octagon this Saturday, challenging Charles Johnson at UFC Fight Night: Song vs Simon.
Six months ago, Durden delivered his best performance to date, earning his second consecutive win against Carlos Mota. Throughout his career, Durden’s excelled with his grappling, but over 12 minutes of control time in a three-round fight is eye opening for other contenders in the flyweight division.
What was more impressive for Durden, however, was his comfortability on the feet. By hurting Mota with a powerful 1-2 combination less than a minute into the fight, he forced the Brazilian to respect his power, which allowed Durden to mix in takedowns and land them at will.
“I thought it was a solid performance,” Durden said regarding his victory. “I got in there, I dominated bell to bell, dropped him with a right hand in the first round, the first opening 40 seconds, and I came out of that fight unscathed.”
“[My striking has] improved tremendously. I finally feel like I’m settled in. I’m where I belong, and I’ve proved that. This fight will be no different; I’ll come in, control the pace and control the outcome.”
Spending 80 percent of the fight grappling is exhausting for any fighter in any weight class, but throughout his training camps, Durden pushes himself beyond his body’s limits, so his confidence never dwindles, even in the dying moments of a fight.
“I just mentally know that in training, day in day out, that I prepare myself to get exhausted, get tired and then it’s all about who’s got heart,” Durden said. “I prepared hard for this fight and it’s going to be a good one. Charles is a great opponent and he’s going to bring it, but so am I.”
Heart. One thing that Durden believes sets him apart from the rest of his competitors is his heart and will to win. When he steps into the gym every day, Durden thinks of three people: his mom, dad and wife. Those three have been the core of Durden’s support system since the start of his mixed martial arts career, so at the end of every fight, Durden just hopes he proves them right and doubters wrong.
“My mom and dad, and my beautiful wife,” Durden acknowledged as his biggest supporters throughout his career. “She’s been there since the start of my fighting [career] and I just remember coming home at 9:30 at night, I’d work all day, from 5:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon and then I would go to training for two hours. I’d get home after 9:00 at night and she’d have dinner in the microwave waiting on me. That’s a big reason why I’m here. It took a team to get here and we’re still a team to this day.
“It’s been a long journey to get here, and I’m just enjoying it. I worked my whole career throughout my 20’. I worked a full-time job with two kids and I kind of did things backwards. I had a kid when I was 20 years old, but I still made it, I made it happen. I was working and fighting, and we’re here today. I’m here this Saturday to prove a point and make a statement.”
For this fight, Durden has a specific point to prove. Not just to win, but Durden plans to finish Johnson, something all 17 of “Inner G’s” previous pro opponents failed to do.
“Every day, people do things that are believable,” Durden said. “They go to their job and do believable things, and I really set the goal this fight camp to do something unbelievable. According to the odds and the bookies, if I went out here and finished Charles Johnson, it’d be unbelievable. So that’s what I set out to do, to do the unbelievable and finish Charles Johnson.”
UFC Fight Night: Song vs Simon took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on April 29, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!