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Gavin Tucker of Canada reacts after his featherweight bout against Billy Quarantillo during the UFC 256 event at UFC APEX on December 12, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Gavin Tucker Isn’t Here To Make Decisions

Canada’s Gavin Tucker Returns To Competition After Two Years Away At UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Font In Nashville

It’s been over two years since Canada’s Gavin Tucker has stepped into the Octagon. And as he approaches his fight against Diego Lopes in Nashville, he hasn’t quite decided what it feels like to be back in the fight week motion. He’s leaving the feelings for after fight night and, to put it simply, he isn’t focused on making decisions or thinking too deep into things. 

“I think there's a season for it and now's the time,” Tucker said. “With a little bit of time away, I feel like a different person, a different fighter. I feel like this is my first fight in the UFC. I'm approaching stuff in that way and letting it not be something I decide on or I'm familiar with, and taking it so I can do something new because that's my plan.”

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Even though it wasn’t in his original plan, spending time away from fighting was something that helped Tucker in the long run. He’s been able to stay involved the sport, even if it wasn’t physically, which is something that has helped him grow as an athlete. 

Canada's Gavin Tucker prepares in the UFC Performance Institute for his featherweight bout against Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs Muhammad on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by McKenzie Pavacich/Zuffa LLC)
(Photo by McKenzie Pavacich/Zuffa LLC)

He wanted to show his love and passion for the game and that’s exactly what he did. 

“These camps I've been doing with other people, taking on a leadership role and running my own crew and being able to see my own personal developments from that, understanding what people need mental coaching and focusing on values and building myself as a person outside of being an athlete.

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“The technical aspect, where I had some time to actually enjoy watching fights and appreciating fighting and taking time to study film and do all the things that I just love and I'm going to do anyways,” Tucker said. “I honestly don't believe anybody loves this sport more than I do. I feel like a lot of the developments I made are going to be available.”

While some crack under the pressure of the bright lights, Tucker thrives in that environment. It’s one of the things that he missed most about fight week. 

Gavin Tucker of Canada celebrates after defeating Sam Sicilia in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Scotiabank Centre on February 19, 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Tucker celebrates after defeating Sam Sicilia on February 19, 2017 (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

“I'm going to sound like a sick f***, but I love the stress of this job so much,” Tucker said. “I was asking God for another run and the chance to do it again and here we are, so I'm lucky. It's amazing to have that stress in our life. That same pressure is a privilege, so that's where I am at. Fight week, you've got to cross that bridge in order to kind of get there. Here we are, putting that logic above how you're feeling in this moment.”

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His opponent this weekend is one that made a splash during his UFC debut back in May at UFC 288 in Newark. Lopes stepped in on short notice against Movsar Evloev, and although he didn’t come out victorious, his effort and toughness were something that was talked about for few weeks following that fight. 

The Brazil native has a record of 21-6, earning eight wins by knockout and 11 by submission. Tucker is excited for the test that Lopes presents when the two step into the Octagon but noted that he’s out to show what he is made of and remind people who may have forgot. 

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“He's going to be there to fight and he's going to be there to try to snatch finishes as he goes and you have to be obviously cautious with him,” Tucker said. “He had a good showing in his first UFC fight, short notice, and he's definitely going to be the kind of guy who is going to engage you in a war if you make it a war.”

The last time fans saw Tucker was March 13, 2021, when he was knocked out by Dan Ige. Prior to that fight, he was 4-1 in his UFC career, gaining wins over Sam Sicilia, SeungWoo Choi, Justin Jaynes, and Billy Quarantillo, with his lone loss coming against Ricky Glenn. 

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When he looks at his life as a fighter, he appreciates the little things and getting to call this work. He hasn’t spent much time envisioning a path to victory but is ready to put on a show and knows that getting the victory will be all too sweet. 

“It's going to mean the world to me,” Tucker said. “The sport and how much I love it and what I have for it, my life is real good right now. When I'm adding to that and adding in a little more for what I love and who I love just means the world.”

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UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Font took place live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on August 5, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!