Currently the UFC’s #13-ranked featherweight contender, Ige is on the most difficult run of his career after losing three-straight fights. The 31-year-old went on a six-fight winning streak after dropping his UFC debut in 2018 but has gone 1-4 overall dating back to July of 2020.
If there’s any silver lining to his current run, it’s that Ige has only been taking on the best fighters that the UFC’s featherweight division has to offer. His last three opponents include former title challenger Chan Sung Jung and the undefeated Movsar Evloev, as well as #5-ranked Josh Emmett.
Emmett is now set to fight for the featherweight division’s interim title against Yair Rodriguez in the co-main event of UFC 284. The need for an interim belt came about due to established champion Volkanovski challenging Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title, which will serve as the main event of the same card.
Every top featherweight has been gunning for a fight with Volkanovski since he became champion in 2019, and that means contenders like Ige are in a unique position to comment on the Australian’s chances to become a two-division champion when he takes on Makhachev.
Dan Ige: “He’s Just Gonna Have To Be Crafty”
Ige recently spoke to The Schmo and was asked what Volkanovski would need to do to win at UFC 284, which prompted “50K” to suggest an unorthodox approach in addition to casting doubts on the 34-year-old’s chances.
“I don’t know, it’s gonna be a tough fight for Volk,” Ige answered “He doesn’t wanna – I can’t say don’t engage because you have to engage to win fights, and he’s just gonna have to be crafty. He’s gonna have to mix it up and know how to point fight and not engage. That’s kinda the only way to beat this guy. I don’t know, unless he catches him with a lucky punch. But I don’t even wanna call it a lucky punch. Unless he catches him clean, but that’s hard to do.”
Both Volkanovski and Makhachev have only tasted defeat once in their respective careers, and “The Great” is undefeated since being stopped in his fourth pro fight back in 2013. Makhachev’s lone setback came at the hands of Adriano Martins in his second UFC bout, but since then the 31-year-old has won eleven-straight fights and finished his last five opponents.
Regardless of the results of the main and co-main events at UFC 284, Ige will need to end his three-fight losing skid if he wants to get back into the featherweight title picture. The 31-year-old is set to compete in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 67 tonight against Damon Jackson, who will enter the matchup on an impressive four-fight winning streak.
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