As of Saturday, Tarec Saffiedine is the last of the Strikeforce competitors that have made the transition to the UFC roster. Tarec, the last Strikeforce welterweight champ after his defeat of Nate Marquardt via leg kicks, made his UFC debut against Hyun Gyu Lim at UFC Fight Night 34 last week.
Tarec used the same devastating leg kicks he used against Marquardt against the Korean, but for some reason abandoned the strategy and took the fight to the ground. A decision that boggled most fans including UFC President Dana White.
Even Saffiedine himself was confused about his choices during the fight as he explained on the MMA Hour last Monday.
“I’m still asking myself why I did that,” Saffiedine said. “I don’t know. I think it was just in the moment. I saw him on the floor, and I tried to ground and pound him and try to end the fight that way, but it wasn’t a smart move. I won’t do that again. I should have waited for the ref to stand him up, and try to finish the fight like that. I guess it was just a mistake.”
Saffiedine was still able to come out victorious against Lim via unanimous decision. His choices that night weren’t all bad as he considered it to be a learning experience and showed him that he could hang with a though opponent for the entire length of the fight and take a few good shots.
Saffiedine commented on Lim’s final efforts at the end of the bout,
“I don’t know how he got his strength back in the fifth round, he just came back really strong and really powerful. He rocked me pretty well. I was dizzy, but I was able to see what was coming.”
The Belgian fighter achieved one of his goals Saturday night becoming the first Belgian fighter to win in the Octagon. His next goal? To be the first Belgian to win UFC gold.
Saffiedine has his sights set high after his win over Lim. A victory in which he feels puts him into contingency for a ranked match up. Saffiedine has the likes of Martin Kampmann, Jake Ellenberger, or ever the winner of Condit vs Woodley in mind.
Woodley would make for an interesting matchup considering the two have history and there is sure to be bad blood between them seeing as Woodley bested Saffiedine vis unanimous decision back in January of 2011 at the Strikeforce Challengers series. The loss being Saffiedine’s only one in his last nine bouts.
Saffiedine assures fans that if he and Woodley were to be matched up again that the previous fight would not be a proper sign of his performance in the potential fight.
“I’m a totally different fighter, I have improved.”
Saffiedine is 15-3 in his professional career and hopes to move up in the UFC welterweight rankings and someday reach his final goal under the Zuffa banner and become the first Belgian to get the belt around his waist.
All quotes via The MMA HourTags: hyun gyu lim, tarec Saffiedine