I can tell you exactly how the fight will go. We’ll try and outsmart each other in the first round. He’s going to put a lot of pressure on me, faking the takedowns and kicks. He’s going to be moving me round the cage a lot, making me work. I think in the second to third round I can see me figuring him out. I can see me getting him on the cage and knocking him out.
If the takedown’s there and an opportunity presents itself I’ll take it because I know how good my takedowns are but I want this to be a standing contest. I want to prove I’m a better strike than him.I think he might try and take me down. I think he’s wary of me. I think he knows that I don’t mind taking a punch and I don’t mind giving one so I think he’s going to be working to take me down.
He’s talked in the media about how he thinks he’ll be stronger than me and he’s as big as me. Well wait until he sees me next week. His opinion of me will totally change.
If he stands in front of me he’s going to know how much bigger and stronger I am so his opinion of me will change next week. He hasn’t seen me face to face so he’ll get a scare and he’ll realise what he’s up against.
Stephen Thompson is a great, well rounded fighter. I think he can knock you out at any point. I think he can finish you, submit you, take you down and ground and pound you. I think his all round game I’ve got to be wary of it.
I haven’t been training to try and emulate him. I’ve just been doing what my coaches say. All the drills, all the sparring, all the techniques we’ve been working on, it’s like muscle memory and it’s going to work in the fight.
I don’t believe anyone is better than me in any area in any type of mixed martial arts. I am the best. I just want to be beat all of these guys in the division and prove I’m better than them. The rest of the guys in the division are cursing me, doubting me, saying I’m just some young kid who’s knocked out some old guy before me but they’re going to see fight night that I’m not just this one hit wonder.
PRESSURE TO PERFORM
Fighting in Liverpool adds pressure but it’s something that helps me. For me it’s two guys in a cage and the best man will win. I don’t believe in flukes, I don’t believe in excuses of being injured or being sick or any of that. I believe that the best guy wins and that’s that.
Losing is a part of the game. We’re all going to lose at some stage. I even visualize losing, that’s how unafraid I am of losing and I think that attitude helps me.
There is pressure to perform in the UFC from the outset. You know what you’re getting into when you sign up. Yair Rodriguez got cut by Dana there for not fighting. If that’s true that he’s turned down two fights, then I can see Dana’s reasoning.
At the end of the day although we’re independent contractors, we still work for the UFC and Dana White is the boss so don’t come on and claim fake news because that just makes Dana and the UFC look stupid. He’s made them look stupid so Dana has gone and made him look completely stupid. He’s just been cut from the biggest organisation in the world so it’s a little lesson for everyone, isn’t it?