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Jordan Leavitt celebrates after his victory over Matt Sayles in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event
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Jordan Leavitt: “I Put Myself In An Echo Chamber"

Leavitt Is Laser Focused Despite Heading Into Enemy Territory Against England's Own Paddy Pimblett At UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Aspinall

For someone in the Top Five when it comes to most affable fighters in the UFC, it might be a little weird for Jordan Leavitt to get booed on Saturday when he faces England’s own Paddy Pimblett at London’s O2 Arena.

Or maybe not.

“I've been booed a lot,” Leavitt laughs. “Not by 20,000 people; maybe 20 people, 200 people, so it's just that times a hundred. I'm super excited for that opportunity. The UFC heard that I said, 'Oh yeah, I can't wait to have a crowd because people like me,' and they're like, 'Let's give him the most toxic environment we can think of.' (Laughs) So it's just another opportunity to level up.”

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Since earning a UFC contract on the fourth season of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020, Leavitt has specialized in leveling up, something he needed after entering the Octagon with just seven pro fights. But four bouts and a 3-1 record in, he’s seen a lot, from scoring a Performance of the Night knockout over Matt Wiman and losing a three-rounder to Claudio Puelles, to rebounding with a submission of Matt Sayles, then winning a tough split decision over Trey Ogden. That’s a lot of different looks for four fights, and he’s grateful for each experience.

“I was always a little nervous because I got to the UFC so early,” he said. “I thought, ‘How am I gonna catch up?’ But my path has been very diverse so far, I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and mostly because I think I'm unassuming and underestimated, so it's pretty cool. I'm getting a nice little crash course the past two years and I beat Paddy, that's a pretty good five-fight career for sure.”

DECEMBER 05: Jordan Leavitt reacts after his knockout victory over Matt Wiman in a lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 05, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

DECEMBER 05: Jordan Leavitt reacts after his knockout victory over Matt Wiman in a lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 05, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


What is clear with the last part of that sentence is that Leavitt isn’t walking into the O2 to be part of Pimblett’s highlight reel. The 27-year-old expects to win, even if the oddsmakers disagree.

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“I'm the lamb off to the slaughter,” he laughs. “But it's kinda cool. At first, he was like a -500 favorite, now he's about a -200. The odds are closing, and people are realizing that they vastly overestimated the difference between our skills. I'm very happy that this fight got put in my lap because this is a dream come true, and I'm gonna end this year on a very high note.”

The confidence is good to hear from the Las Vegan, and he’s enjoyed this little stretch of added attention on the fight, even if he hasn’t become obsessed with his opponent in the lead-up.

Jordan Leavitt Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Muhammad 2
Jordan Leavitt Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Muhammad 2
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“I put myself in an echo chamber,” Leavitt said. “I don't follow him on anything, and I know very little about him personally. I've seen his interviews and that's about all. He's got some charisma, he's pretty funny. A lot of people don't like him. This is the first time where the majority of messages and things I'm tagged in are positive. That was surprising. But I like him, he's got some good skills, he's a very tough kid, and he has a big wealth of experience for someone our age. But I think his deficiencies are more ingrained than my deficiencies. I think I'm a better fighter, I think I improve at a faster pace and I think my focus is a little bit more on the fighting.”

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The fighting is all that matters on Saturday. And while a win will plaster the face of “The Monkey King” all around the MMA world and announce his arrival as a threat in the lightweight division, he wouldn’t mind if people kept underestimating him.

“You'd like to think that people would take me seriously, but luckily the dance makes people forget,” he said, referring to his victory celebrations in the Octagon. “It makes them forget the hard work I put in. But I'm pretty happy I looked a little flat last fight because I don't think I would have gotten this opportunity if I looked really good. I think after I beat Paddy, I'm not gonna be underestimated too much anymore, but one can hope.”

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Aspinall took place live from the at The O2 Arena in London on Saturday, July 23, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards, and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass