When the Nevada State Athletic Commission informed Jake Hadley that he’d missed weight for his Dana White’s Contender Series bout last October, he assumed the writing was on the wall.
No fighter had ever received a contract on DWCS after missing weight – not even if their win on the show was ultra-impressive. But there is a first time for everything and luckily for Hadley, Dana White thought he deserved to be the exception to the rule.
“It was a good experience because everything seemed to work out at the end of the day,” Hadley told reporters at UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs Rakic media day. “It was all part of process.”
At 8-0 and just 25 years old, fight fans are excited to see what Hadley brings to the table. He made his way through a couple different promotions before joining the UFC roster, notably capturing the Cage Warriors flyweight championship in just his seventh professional fight.
And while he’s proud of what he’s accomplished and happy that fans are interested in him, he knows that if he doesn’t deliver, people will be quick to write him off.
“All this hype around me, all the people who support me and that, people are fickle; they will jump off the train quite quickly. You just got to make sure you win and that’s the most important thing and that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday night,” Hadley said. “As long as you win, everything is going to keep going forward. Everyone loves a winner, and no one likes a loser at the end of the day.”
Hadley knows getting a standout win in his UFC debut will be no easy task, as he is set to square off with Allan Nascimento. Despite dropping his own UFC debut by split decision, the Brazilian flyweight showed that he is just about as dynamic as his opponent in the loss to ranked flyweight Tagir Ulanbekov.
With the UFC pairing the two, Hadley takes it as a sign that the UFC expects big things out of him. He’s competing with a fighter who just fought someone ranked in his debut and that means that if he’s dominant this weekend, he could be fighting his way into the rankings sooner rather than later.
“This shows what the UFC thinks of me by putting me in there with a guy who has had 24-25 fights. It shows what the UFC thinks of me compared to putting me with a guy who is like 6-2 or 7-2,” Hadley said. “This makes for a good fight because we are both two tough, durable guys, who have fought tough opponents. I think it’s a good fight.”
Hadley is confident that he can beat Nascimento wherever the fight takes place, and he wants to show people that he can shine against another high-level grappler.
“I like this matchup because I think that Allan is the best unranked guy in the division in my opinion,” Hadley said. “If you look at him skill-wise, he’s got good striking and very good jiu jitsu. I think the fans are very excited for this fight based on his skill set, and he’s got very good jiu jitsu, especially off of his back. People know I’ve got good grappling, as well, so the fans are quite excited for this fight.”
The main thing that Hadley believes sets him and his opponent apart is his desire to win, and he’s going to showcase that this weekend.
“I’m blood thirsty and I’m ready for blood,” Hadley said. “I expect to go in there and finish him but, with that being said, I will win by any means necessary. I’m a very exciting fighter, I come forward and I’m aggressive on the ground; well, I’m aggressive everywhere. I expect it to be an entertaining fight but, like I said, I plan on winning by any means necessary.”
UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs Rakic took place on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses — and relive all of the action on UFC Fight Pass.