LAS VEGAS – Regardless of the opponent, Sadiq Yusuf wanted to compete at any cost.
Yusuff (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) was originally scheduled to face Giga Chikaze at UFC Fight Night 210, but after Chikaze was dropped out due to injuryhe ended up drawing Don Shinis (12-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) two weeks later on Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 211 card.
Quite a disappointing change for Yusuff, who has gone from top 10 featherweight to UFC rookie. But the 29-year-old, who hasn’t competed since defeating Alex Caceres in March, wanted all that hard work to pay off.
“I need to go get my check,” Yusuff told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on media day at UFC Fight Night 211 on Wednesday. “Honestly, the fee was a big motivator, but other than that, I took the fight with Giga, maybe four months before the fight. It’s been a long time since I signed the fight and we’ve done a lot of work. I can’t let it all go to waste. I have to get something at the end of the day.”
He continued, “There is no disappointment. This is a very crazy game. I try not to underestimate anyone, so I treat this guy the same way I treat Giga, the same way I treat anyone out there. In every fight I try to look at him like it’s a belt fight, so it’s definitely not a disappointment. Once we finish the fight and get this over with, we can look into the future, but right now this guy is the top priority.”
Shinis may make his debut in the octagon, but that doesn’t change much for Yusuff, who says he always scrutinizes films about his opponents.
“He’s a grinder,” Yusuff said. “He throws a lot of punches in a circle, tries to hit you in the face and tries to unsettle you. Like I said, with everyone I fight, I have a lot of faith in watching movies. I will never be the guy who comes in there and says let’s just play. Ever since I was an amateur, I have always studied cinema.”
UFC Fight Night 211 will take place on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The map airs on ESPN+.
To learn more about the card, visit the MMA Junkie event center to UFC fight night 211.
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