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“I’ve fought only twice in the last four years, and the reason was because I was sick and injured, and I wasn’t able to perform,” Bahadurzada told reporters after his UFC Fight Pass-streamed win at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. “But I corrected the mistakes, and I figured out what I was doing wrong. Now, I’m here to stay.”
It had been 16 months since Bahadurzada (23-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) had stepped into the octagon, and when he did so at Saturday’s event at Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands, it wasn’t even at his usual weight class.
“I fight at welterweight,” he said. “This fight was in middleweight. This year, I was a little overweight. I was a heavyweight. I couldn’t make it to welterweight, so I was a middleweight.”
The added pounds seemed to help him against Wilkinson (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who faded quickly after taking a flurry of shots in the second round. Bahadurzada looked free of any potential “ring rust” in his return to the cage, even though he doesn’t believe in the phenomenon.
“That’s for people who use it as an excuse,” he said. “But in the first round, when you find out the frequency of your opponent, you change your game plan. I change my game plan from minute to minute if I have to.”
Asked about his future plans, Bahadurzada said he will take some time to re-asses and decide his next move. He does, however, plan to continue his work at the famed Jackson-Wink Academy in Albuquerque, praising the team’s learning environment.
“Right now, I’m on adrenaline,” he said. “I don’t know if something is wrong with me. I’ll wake up in the morning and feel if everything’s alright. I think I’m fine. My next fight will be soon, I think.”
The adrenaline may have clouded his memory of the UFC’s upcoming schedule because he called out Matt Brown, who’s currently booked to meet Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 120.
“I think Matt Brown would be a good fight,” Bahadurzada said. “He says that he’s immortal, but I will show he’s pretty much mortal.”
Scheduling challenges aside, Bahadurzada pointed out the fact that he called his shot against Wilkinson, holding up eight fingers at the event’s weigh-ins.
“So I predicted it in minutes, not to the round,” he said.
Bahadurzada won’t try to predict the way he finishes fights from here on out. But he’ll try to make every one memorable for the fans.
“Knockouts are in my nature,” he said. “I’m not going to say every fight is going to be a knockout after this, but I’ll definitely look for the knockout. Because I’m not satisfied with any type of a win. Even if it’s a submission, I’m not satisfied unless I go for the kill.”
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