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Niko Price prepares to enter the Octagon prior to his welterweight bout against Alex Oliveira of Brazil during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 02, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Niko Price Can’t Wait To Fight

After Being Away From The Octagon For Over A Year, Welterweight Niko Price Is More Than Excited For His Bout Against Phil Rowe In Orlando

There’s no other way to describe it than to say that Niko Price is counting down the minutes until he steps foot back into the Octagon. Following his weigh-in on Friday morning, Price yelled, “I’m back” and then sprinted off the podium.

It’s been over a year since Price last fought, his last time coming against Alex Oliveira in October 2021. He left the Octagon that night with a unanimous decision win, but has been dealing with injuries and surgery since, which has kept him away. However, he hasn’t let the “stay ready” mentality slip away.

“I’ve been staying in the fight mindset, not letting it get away and getting too heavy or big or malnourished,” Price said. “Just trying to have everything stay ready so when they called, I’m ready to go.”

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Through 14 fights in the UFC, the welterweight has had a mixed bag of results, recording seven wins, five losses and two no contests. As much as Price couldn’t wait to get back to fighting, he knew that his recovery was more important than rushing the process.

“(The hardest part) was watching everyone fight and being like, ‘Dude, I should be fighting these guys right now’, but then you sit back, and I was like, I need to sit back and recover so I can come back and fight these dudes,” Price said. “I’m back now and I’m ready to start going.”

Niko Price poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night official weigh-in at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on December 02, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Niko Price poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night official weigh-in at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on December 02, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


The Cape Coral native returns to action against Phil Rowe at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Holland.

The last time a UFC event was held in Orlando was back in February 2018 for UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs Stephens. When Price got the call to fight in Orlando, there was no hesitation, with it being just over a three-hour drive to the Amway Center. With the location set, Price didn’t care who he was fighting, he just wanted to get back in there.

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“I don’t care who it was, you could’ve sent me Khamzat (Chimaev), I’m signing up,” Price said. “It doesn’t matter. I ask for these killers; I want these killers. Phil (Rowe) came up and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight Phil, of course. He’s another killer, I’m down.’ I want to fight the hardest dudes, I want the Khamzat fights, I want the fight the Top 5, the Top 3, I’m down for it all.”

When asked what Price thought about Rowe as an opponent, there wasn’t much thought needed, as his answer was simple:

“He’s a good guy, cool, hilarious,” Price said. “He dances good, makes some funny videos. He’s a good fighter.”

Niko Price Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Holland
Niko Price Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Holland
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“The Fresh Prince” comes into the bout on a two-fight win streak after defeating Orion Cosce and Jason Witt, both by TKO. He has won nine out of his last 10 bouts and has an 80.5-inch reach, compared to Price’s 76-inch reach. Rowe trains out of Fusion X-Cel, also located in Florida, making this a bout for Florida bragging rights.

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There aren’t nerves surrounding Price’s eagerness to get back into the Octagon; it’s more excitement. He’s ready to be let into the cage and put on a show once again. The 33-year-old aims to close out the year with a win and has his sights set on a big 2023.

“Get in the Top 5, simple as that. I have three more fights on this contract, I’m going to make a big name with those and then we’re going to be in the top after that and then the belt is next. Simple.”

UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Holland took place live from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on December 3, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!