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 Joe Pyfer reacts after his victory over Ozzy Diaz in a middleweight fight during Dana White's Contender Series Season 6 Week 1 at UFC APEX on July 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Joe Pyfer Is Here To Stay

Making His UFC Debut At UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song, Joe Pyfer Is Out To Prove He Belongs In The UFC Middleweight Division

Seven weeks after being the only fighter to earn a UFC contract on week one of Dana White’s Contender Series’ sixth season, Joe Pyfer makes his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song.

It was three fights into the opening week of this year’s season of the Contender Series, and UFC President Dana White was not pleased. Creating the show to find up-and-coming talent who put everything on the line for a chance to earn a contract, White didn’t see the mentality he was looking for in the first six athletes to compete.

Then came the main event.

Taking center stage in Week 1’s headliner, Joe Pyfer made his second walk to the Contender Series Octagon after suffering a gruesome arm injury on Season 4 that left “BodyBagz” with serious questions if he’d every compete again.

“I think it’s a testimony to how bad I really wanted it, how much I really believed in myself,” Pyfer said. “First and foremost, if I didn’t believe in myself, I wouldn’t have come back here. That’s my exit door right there.”

Be Joe Pyfer
Be Joe Pyfer

“Crying in an ambulance by yourself, that s*** sits with you at night. I was obsessed with getting back here and making changes."

Facing Ozzy Diaz, it only took two minutes into the second round for his knockout power to prove itself. Landing a left hook that dropped Diaz and finishing it off with ground-and-pound, Pyfer couldn’t be denied a contract after an exceptional victory that ignited the APEX crowd on a relatively quiet Tuesday night.

24 hours later, Pyfer not only earned his place in the UFC, but had his first opponent – Macedonia’s Alen Amedovski - scheduled.

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song

“I didn’t have much time to relax and come back,” Pyfer said. “I signed the [fight] contract the day after I won the contract. I got the contract on a Wednesday; I landed and signed the contract. I looked [Alen Amedovski] up right there while I was waiting at baggage claim.

“I did say that if I wasn’t hurt that I was going to come out of [Dana White’s Contender Series] and get right to work. I get to make money, and more so, I’m in shape and I don’t want to get out of shape and get back in shape … it’s a lot less damaging on your body, and this really is a way of life.”

Joe Pyfer, Part 1 | Dana White’s Contender Series: Next Level
Joe Pyfer, Part 1 | Dana White’s Contender Series: Next Level

No vacation, no celebration, just back to work; a characteristic of a fighter that White wants competing in his promotion, something he made vocal in his interview post-fight with Laura Sanko, telling the rest of the competitors on season six to “be Joe Pyfer.”

This Saturday, “BodyBagz” comes in as the favorite against Amedovski, who’s lost all three of his UFC fights since joining the promotion in 2019.

"100 percent honest, I’m not being disrespectful, I’ve watched probably 30 seconds of tape,” Pyfer said. “There isn’t that much tape on him. The one tape I did see against John Phillips he got knocked out, and against joseph Holmes he got rocked and then submitted.”

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Sandhagen Interview | Gillian Robertson | Song Yadong's Dream | Fighters On The Rise

“I definitely think he’s very chinny and he’s a little sloppy, but he has power, he has speed. This guy is fighting for his job. Look, he’s on a three-fight skid, so technically he’s supposed to lose to me, right? I’m the biggest favorite on the card, I see these things, but he’s a formidable opponent, he’s in the UFC, everybody’s tough but I’m just going to be that much tougher.”

Oozing with confidence during fight week, if you didn’t realize who he was, you wouldn’t think he’s making his debut – a lifelong dream and the biggest moment of his life. Changing gyms and cutting out friends and family with “fake love,” Pyfer has seen massive improvements in his skill set and mental clarity. 

Joe Pyfer Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song
Joe Pyfer Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song

These improvements elicited an undeniable belief that he can shine in his debut and make a statement that he belongs in the UFC middleweight division. Even though you’d expect Pyfer to be proud of any performance if there’s a win attached, he envisions the fight ending in only one way.

“I’m going to go out there and I’m going to hit this dude and he’s going to understand that there’s a different power game with me. I don’t look like the biggest middleweight and that’s cool, but he had his shot and he’s lost three times in a row. I wish him the best but it’s my time. It’s my time to make some money, my time to make a name, my time to be here and I’m going to make a statement.”

“I’m putting him out,” Pyfer said. “I’m not submitting him, I’m not decisioning him, I’m putting him out. I’m KO’ing him. That’s my plan: go out there and put his head through the floor.”

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Song took place live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 17, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass