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Dan Ige Determined To Reach The Top

"Having that loss, coming back getting that quick 50 second finish and then just being on a roll since then. Two finishes, three wins in a row… I feel great man I just want to keep it going all the way to the top. I’m pumped.”

Putting together a UFC win-streak isn’t easy to do.

The fighters that usually do end up finding a top-15 ranking next to their name. And while establishing himself in the rankings is a goal for featherweight Dan Ige, what’s more important to him is making the most of his life.

This realization came to Ige after losing his UFC debut to Julio Arce at the start of 2018. Since then, he’s shown he is a true force in the division by winning three in a row.
 

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“Having that loss just really like put it in my head. ‘This is my career, this is my chance to make something with my life and do something with my life,’” Ige said. “Having that loss really put things into perspective to where like, ‘Hey I need to take this serious and make an impact in this sport.' Having that loss, coming back getting that quick 50-second finish and then just being on a roll since then. Two finishes, three wins in a row… I feel great man. I just want to keep it going all the way to the top. I’m pumped.”

Ige should be pumped. He’s looked dominant in each of his bouts since that fast TKO win over Mike Santiago at UFC 225. Back in December, Ige fought a dynamic Jordan Griffin who was making his UFC debut in his hometown. Ige responded to the pressure of fighting a guy in his own backyard by neutralizing Griffin and controlling the entire fight.

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But it was his win at UFC London that might be his most impressive. Ige proved once again that he lives up to his nickname, “Dynamite” Dan, by rocking Danny Henry before submitting him in less than a minute and a half.

This killer instinct is a trait that has always been a part of Ige, it’s just becoming even stronger now that he’s hitting his stride.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: (L-R) Dan Ige secures a rear choke submission against Danny Henry of Scotland in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at The O2 Arena on March 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: (L-R) Dan Ige secures a rear choke submission against Danny Henry of Scotland in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at The O2 Arena on March 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Z

“I think it’s just the experience overall. Getting more comfortable in there and knowing that I belong in there is more of a mental switch than anything,” Ige said. “My physical training has always been good. I’m always adding new things, adapting, getting better and getting stronger. But the mental game is the key. Just being confident walking in there on fight night, I’m not saying II don’t get nervous or I don’t get scared for fights. But my confidence and my preparations is what shows on fight night and that’s why I’m able to walk through my opponents.”

Ige will face his toughest opponent to date at UFC Greenville this Saturday. Kevin Aguilar has picked up two UFC victories since making an appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series last July. Ige is intrigued by the match-up for multiple reasons and he expects the battle between them to be one that the fans will appreciate.

Aguilar Is Never Comfortable

“He goes forward, he hits hard and he doesn’t really get tired,” Ige said. “We’re going to have similar styles against each other so it’s going to be who falls first.”

The win would be Ige’s fourth in a row and put him closer than ever to reaching his goal to be ranked in the top 15 of the UFC’s featherweight division.

“I just want to get a win-streak going, three in a row right now and looking to make that four in a row,” Ige said. “That’s not common in the division. Four fights in a row would be great and I want to look to make an impact and make that top 15 by the end of 2019.”

UFC Greenville starts at 4pm/1pm ETPT on ESPN+, with the main card starting at 7pm/4pm ETPT.

Make sure to tune in and find out if “Dynamite” Dan gets his hand raised for the fourth fight in a row.

Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews.