If it seems like Drew Dober is having the time of his life in the middle of his UFC 288 fight with Matt Frevola, that’s because he is.
The Octagon is where the all-action lightweight gets to “play hard” and release his inner warrior. Add in a rowdy crowd of fight fans and there is no stopping Dober from reaching an unmatched state of happiness.
What’s the saying? A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter?
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That certainly checks out in the case of Dober, who seems to not only smile through the do or die moments in a fight, but actually thrive in them.
“I think I’m just an innate warrior. It’s an internal thing I don’t need to draw it out; it just comes out when I’m having fun,” Dober told UFC.com. “When I was a kid, I was the kid who was unintentionally hurting my friends while having fun. I just play hard, and anytime I’m under the lights in that Octagon in front of the audience, we play hard as possible.”
Dober will make his 21st UFC appearance at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, as the No. 14-ranked lightweight contender in the world. It’s been a long grind for Dober to be in this position, as he’s entering the fray coming off an incredible 2022 campaign in which he notched three consecutive knockout wins.
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Everything has been coming together for Dober, largely in part to the maturation of his Fight IQ and his ability to trust his instincts when the fight gets grimy. Dober considers himself a late bloomer that took almost a decade in the UFC to reach his true potential, and now that he’s found the ingredients, he’s aiming to repeat the recipe in 2023.
“The year I had in 2022 was surreal,” Dober said. “Three wins, three knockouts, three fantastic finishes that were memorable fights and we are planning on doing it again this year.”
Drew Dober KO Haqparast
Drew Dober KO Haqparast
Dober is currently tied with Dustin Poirier for the most wins by KO in lightweight history and making it four straight wins by KO would set Dober up for big things in the near future.
“With another win, another knockout, another showcase, it gives me the opportunity to finally fight the names that everyone wants me to fight,” Dober said. “Somebody in the Top 5 or 10, co-main event or main event status. I think I’m ready to put Drew Dober on the main screen.”
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On the flip side of the coin, Frevola is looking to put an end to Dober’s run at UFC 288 and get his own three-fight KO streak. If he’s able to accomplish that he’ll be the first man to finish Dober by KO.
The nice guy in Dober shined bright once again, as he couldn’t help but get excited at Frevola’s mindset.
“Wouldn’t that be amazing for him to be the first to finish me?!?,” Dober exclaimed. “I love that he’s going for that and that’s his thought. It’s going to play into what I do best, which is recover and knock other people out.”
All this knockout talk is right up Dober’s alley and he’s confident that he and Frevola aren’t just promoting the fight. He’s expecting an absolute banger – gladiator style.
“He engages. He looks for the knockout. He steps forward. He’s chaotic. These are the fights that I love. I definitely know that he’s not going to try and make this fight boring,” Dober said of Frevola. “He wants to showcase his abilities, he’s fighting a ranked opponent, he’s coming in with that enthusiasm and I’m going to meet him there and we are going to have a great night.
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“The entire arena is going to light up when we enter that Octagon and it’s going to continue for the full 15 minutes.”
Dober pauses to add a smile and wink.
“If it goes that long.”
UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo took place live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on May 6, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass