The stage that is a UFC pay-per-view event on Fight Island provides an opportunity for fighters to have their name be known across the world. Hakeem Dawodu is prepared to take full advantage of that opportunity.
Ever since he suffered his first professional loss in his UFC debut in 2018, Dawodu has been perfect. He’s rattled off four consecutive wins, including one that earned him a performance bonus, and improved his record to 11-1-1.
Despite Hawodu’s surge, he has yet to crack the UFC rankings but the opportunity in front of him this weekend could change all that. Dawodu is set to open the UFC 253 main card against Zubaira Tukhugov, who has only lost one fight in his last eight years of professional fighting.
UFC.com sat down with Dawodu to discuss his upcoming match and how important a win at Fight Island would be.
UFC: It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen you last, what have you been working on in your time off?
HD: I’ve been improving every part of my game. I didn’t focus on one thing; I just try to be a better fighter and grow as a whole.
UFC: How has the pandemic affected your training?
HD: Even when I don’t have a fight coming up, I train the same – hard or very hard.
UFC: What do you know about your opponent and what matchup advantages do you think you hold?
HD: He has a decent left hook and is a decent wrestler, but other than that I’m going to pick him apart. He’s got a big name and our skill sets match up very well. I’m definitely looking to put him away and get more known around the world.
UFC: It’s been four wins in a row now. Is this the best you’ve ever felt in your MMA career?
HD: After this fight I definitely want a Top 10 opponent. I have to perform and get the KO so I can start getting ranked opponents.
UFC: How important is it to keep the winning streak going and potentially enter the rankings?
HD: Every fight is the most important, so if I want to continue to grow and be a champion, I have to win this fight.
Visit Abu Dhabi: http://www.abudhabievents.ae/