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Ode Osbourne of Jamaica punches Zarrukh Adashev of Uzbekistan in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ode' Osbourne Aims To Leave A Legacy

UFC Flyweight Ode' Osbourne Hopes To Inspire Children, Adolescents And Adults With His Story.

Speaking with fellow Brooklynite Ode’ Osbourne always involves a chat about the weather (mine remains lousy, his in Vegas not so much), Jamaican food, and, oh yeah, fighting.

“I switched gyms and I’m kind of just trying to get my groove back, like Stella,” laughs Osbourne, who is reminded that most of the younger generation reading this won’t even get that reference to the 1998 book and movie, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”

Now we’re both laughing.

“They will never know what that means,” said Osbourne. “They'll never understand.”

What they will get is that after debuting in the UFC in early 2020, Osbourne has been on a continuing quest to get into that groove of consistency. After back-to-back victories over CJ Vergara and Zarrukh Adashev, coupled with a move from Milwaukee to Las Vegas, it looked like he found it. But a first-round TKO loss to Tyson Nam last August stalled him and prompted him to switch from the Syndicate MMA team to the squad led by Dewey Cooper. And it’s here where the 31-year-old feels like he can finally make his run to the top of the flyweight division.

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“Dewey's phenomenal,” said Osbourne of the renowned kickboxer who has been making a name for himself as a coach in recent years. “He's such a fundamental, striking coach, and his system is great. And not only that, but Dewey has so much energy and gives you a lot of his time. That's one of the things I cherish the most about Dewey. I've been to so many bigger gyms now, and sometimes you have to be selfish with yourself, and if you're not getting the time that you need, then you have to figure out a way to get the time that you need or figure out a different system. And that's predominantly why I left Syndicate. I just wasn't getting what I needed.”

Ode Osbourne of Jamaica has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Ode Osbourne of Jamaica has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

No drama, no hard feelings, just business. It’s what Osbourne needed to take his game to the next level. He felt he had to do that when he left Milwaukee, and now he’ll see if moving to Cooper and his squad gets him the time he needs in the gym and the guidance he wants on fight night. It’s not easy, but it is necessary.

“I think people get too comfortable with being in a place that is comfortable all the time,” he said. “And I like being uncomfortable. I'm at a place now in my career where I need a lot of attention, and I'm not talking attention where I need favoritism, but I need a lot of one-on-one time.”

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Joining Osbourne in camp for this weekend’s fight against Charles Johnson are a host of UFC standouts, including former world champion Cody Garbrandt, Farid and Javid Basharat and Amir Albazi, and while training with that gang of killers would intimidate nearly anybody, Osbourne is loving it.

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“The fact that he (Cooper) was a world champion, he knows exactly what it takes to get to that level,” he said. “And there's days where I'm not going to lie, I'm like, ‘Man, we've been going at it so hard for six days in a row. I feel like I'm broken.’ Cause I'm so exhausted. But Dewey is so encouraging and motivating. He's got a great way of motivating you to push through the trenches is what he calls it. And I think I've gone to the deepest part of the ocean for this fight.”

Johnson, a late replacement for Denys Bondar, is in the kind of groove Osbourne wants, having won two straight over Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Jimmy Flick after dropping his UFC debut to Muhammad Mokaev last July. It’s a tough matchup, but the kind of one Osbourne wants after what was a surprising defeat at the heavy hands of Nam.

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“I'm just going to say that pretty much Tyson capitalized on that night and he showed out, and I'm not going to take that away from him,” Osbourne said. “Too many times we fight, and we make excuses - this happened, that happened, this happened. I'm not going to do that. I'm just going to say that Tyson capitalized on the moment, and he did what he needed to do and hat’s off to him.”

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It's a classy way to address the defeat, not surprising from the former schoolteacher who, through it all, still wants to make his mom proud.

“Coming from Jamaica as an immigrant, that was especially hard,” said Osbourne. “And my mom and I, we struggled as I was growing up, but she has always been my strength and my provider, and she's given me all the tools that I needed to be where I am today. My mom is my rock. She has showed me so much strength because I remember those days where it was just her and I, and we had hardships. I remember all the hardships her and I had, and she never gave up. She always kept pushing and told me that there was always a way out.”

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His way out was through mixed martial arts, but just getting here isn’t enough for “The Jamaican Sensation.”

“My journey over the last three years have been the best, worst, easiest, toughest, hardest three years of my life,” he said. “Because I've had to endure certain things, like leaving my students, which breaks my heart because that's my passion. My passion in this life is to leave a legacy behind for children, adolescents and adults who can say, ‘That Ode’ Osbourne, he's somebody that changed my life forever.’”

UFC Fight Night: Muniz vs Allen took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 25, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass