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LONDON – Fighting on home soil is generally considered an advantage, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its drawbacks.
Often, that means knowing that your family and friends are right there, which can help increase the pressure factor. Not to mention, you know, this entire venue filled with very excited people screaming your name and fully expecting you to beat the other person.
What can be a little unsettling to some, however, is actually be a soothing experience to others. Like welterweight Danny Roberts, who’ll once more walk out to his friendly London crowd when he meets Claudio Silva at UFC on ESPN+ 5 on Saturday.
“The noise that you get backstage and what you can hear in the arena, you know, the roars, the vibrations and stuff – for me, it’s something that actually makes me very comfortable,” Roberts told MMA Junkie during a media day today in London. “And when I’m comfortable, I’m dangerous.
“Like last year in London. Being backstage, hearing the noise and the energy that was out in the arena waiting for us, and knowing what my people are like, you know? I can’t wait and I couldn’t wait to just get out there and do the work.”
Roberts does have history backing him up. The aforementioned meeting last year in London, at UFC Fight Night 127, ended in a first-round knockout over Oliver Enkamp. Not to mention the times he competed, successfully, in home soil for Cage Warriors.
Roberts’ most recent fight was neither in home soil nor a finish, but it was victorious nonetheless; he took a decision over David Zawada, thus putting together a streak for the first time since his first UFC steps. Granted, the call was split, but both Roberts and Zawada took home an added $50,000 for their “Performance of the Night” efforts.
Unlike Zawada, who was making his short-notice UFC debut then, Silva has been around for a while. But, again, Roberts is dealing with a situation in which he doesn’t have much to go off of when it comes to studying his foe. Due to a lengthy injury layoff, Silva’s total octagon time in more than four years adds up to four and a half minutes.
That’s no problem for Roberts. Judging by Silva’s background, he believes it’s very easy to get opponents able to replicate his game. Preparing for Roberts’ game, though, can be a little more challenging.
“What I am and what I bring to the table is something that’s going to be very hard to deal with on the night,” Roberts said.
Roberts may not have gotten as much promotional love as British counterparts Darren Till and Leon Edwards leading up to Saturday’s ESPN+-streamed event, but he did get that main card billing and a chance to steal the night in front of his home town fans.
The way Roberts sees it, he’s right where he should be. Now, it’s just a matter of getting past Silva – more precisely, fulfilling his plan to “erase him from the sport” – and getting the right fights.
“This time, I feel like I can’t be ignored,” Roberts said. “I feel like I’m going be getting someone that’s up there. Someone that’s going to give me the fight I want and the fans appreciate. Again, I’m seven fights deep in the UFC. People know what to expect from me now. So it’s just a matter of getting the right name, the right caliber of guy, and it’s only going to get more and more exciting.
“It’s a case of just wiping this guy out on Saturday, move on to the next height. There’s plenty of people up there in the top-10, top-15 that I want. The 170 division is food to me. I just want to eat and move up and keep going forward.”
To hear from Roberts, check out the video above.
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