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Rob Font: ‘My Time Will Come’

Bantamweight Contender Rob Font Knows He Needs To Take Advantage Of His Big-Moment Opportunity At UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo

Rob Font doesn’t necessarily blame people if his name isn’t the on the tip of their tongue when talking about the best bantamweights in the UFC. 

The onus is starting to shift a bit, especially after he extended his winning streak to four and picked up a pair of performance bonuses along the way. In May, Font competed in his first UFC main event against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, and over the course of five rounds, Font put on a sharp and technical display en route to a comfortable decision victory. Despite the big-time win, Font still gives aloof fans a pass, for now.

“I'm still kind of like the guy like, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot about him. He is legit. He is that guy,’” Font told UFC.com. “I think another the main event, another big name and another big finish, it kind of like puts me into the conversation of, ‘He should be a champion,’ or, ‘He's the next champion,’ or, ‘I can't wait for him to get the title shot,’ but right now I'm just kind of there like, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot (about him),’ just because of how inconsistent I've been over the years.”

Rob Font At Fenway Park
Rob Font At Fenway Park
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Sure, injuries and inactivity can prevent people from knowing your name, but Font has long been a guy with the goods to chase for the belt. In 12 UFC fights, his three losses have come against John Lineker, Pedro Munhoz and Raphael Assuncao. Although he picked up wins over Matt Schnell, Thomas Almeida and Ricky Simón along the way, it took a first-round knockout win over Marlon Moraes to really announce Font as a force at 135.

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That fight was also crucial because it was his first after undergoing ACL surgery. A year later, Font can once again make a statement. This time, it comes against former featherweight king José Aldo, an opponent Font admits he never really thought he’d face in his career. 

“This like a dream come true,” Font said. “This is one of those big opportunities that we got to capitalize on and I'm excited. Jose’s the type of guy that I definitely didn't think I would end up fighting.”

Rob Font Is On The Cusp Of Contention | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo
Rob Font Is On The Cusp Of Contention | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo
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Since dropping his first two bantamweight bouts, Aldo has found his feet at 135 pounds, collecting a pair of decision wins over Marlon “Chito” Vera and Munhoz. Even though Aldo is one of the biggest names in the sport, Font isn’t coming into the fight with any hesitancy. He expects to spend the early portion of the fight making some reads, but in terms of respecting the legend too much, that’s not much of a concern.

Also giving Font confidence is his last fight against Garbrandt. Beyond the fact that he showed excellent defensive grappling and put on a jabbing clinic, Font embraced the unique circumstances of headlining a card, namely the cardiovascular test in the Octagon and the pomp and circumstance outside of it.

The New England Cartel Is Here To Chase Belts

“I know I'm there for five rounds,” he said. “Main event, feeling that actual walk, getting the extra media, we've done that. I was fortunate enough to do that with Calvin (Kattar), so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when it came to that. Besides that, it’s Vegas, it's another fight. I would be lying if I didn't say it isn't a big name. It is a big name, but who isn’t a big name in the top five of the bantamweight division in the UFC? So, just another big name. Another fight. Definitely not taking this lightly at all, and (I’ve been) training my ass off for this fight.”

In the last couple years, Font and Kattar have made a name for themselves in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, respectively, under the New England Cartel banner.  

A win over Aldo puts Font one notch closer to the goal he has and his coach Tyson Chartier always had: UFC gold. Font believes he’ll need to put together a couple of wins to solidify his case for a shot, and he’s well-aware of the odd circumstances the bantamweight division is in at the moment.

“The top of division is all killers,” Font said. “It's in a weird spot right now because you got the champion (Aljamain Sterling) injured. We got (Petr) Yan with the interim belt, and you got TJ (Dillashaw) coming back. You gotta assume TJ probably gets that first title shot or at least gets the Yan fight if Aljamain doesn’t come back quick enough. It’s just weird, and then you obviously have to have Cory Sandhagen out there, but he's coming off two losses. I’m technically fighting backwards, so it's kind of like I'm taking a risky fight, but the thing is worth it. I feel like the way it is all jumbled up still, I think a big win still puts me one more behind those guys.”

Rob Font | Top Finishes
Rob Font | Top Finishes
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Font is weary of giving the jigsaw puzzle at the top too much thought. He knows it’s a question he’ll need to answer when fight week media obligations roll around, but he’s not consumed by the what ifs.

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The task at hand is getting past Aldo. A finish is always nice, but Font isn’t banking on the fight being some sort of mainstream breakout for him. He has embraced working in the dark for now, knowing the opportunities come if he can produce the right results. He looks at some of the other veterans in the promotion who took the long road to the top and knows he can accomplish his dreams, as well, and looking at the landscape he forged for himself, those dreams are closer than ever.

“You can go out there and put on an amazing performance and they're talking about something else the next day or whatever,” Font said. “Losing a couple of times in the UFC, you forget all about that and just focus on winning and getting the job done. I look at guys like Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, they go up and down and they should be retiring or whatever, but now, they’re champions. My time will come. I feel like I'm kind of in that spot where like, again, another big win puts me right there. I just gotta go out there and handle business.”