Dan Ige is no stranger to being the betting underdog.
Ige has been the underdog in his past three fights against Edson Barboza, Mirsad Bektic, and Kevin Aguilar and yet won all three contests. But, entering his July 15 main event against Calvin Kattar, it will be the toughest opponent he has faced and he’s excited Kattar took the fight given he is lower in the rankings.
“I said it before, he’s in a position where he is tied up. If he wants to wait it out, he absolutely can,” Ige said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “He’s earned it and deserved it but he’s an active fighter and taking another risk and I respect that about him. That is what this sport is all about, taking a risk. I’m fortunate to face a tough opponent in Calvin. But, I’m going to go in there and do what I always do in a fight.”
Although Ige is taking this fight on just weeks notice, he knows he couldn’t pass up the main event opportunity and the chance to fight a top-10 opponent. It will also be the third fight of 2020 for the Hawaiian and says this is exactly what a season should be.
“You got Conor McGregor talking about a season, this is an example of a season. He has fought one time and who knows if he will fight again,” he said. “This is my third fight this year and I love it. Originally, I didn’t plan on doing that, but I’m young and healthy and why not take advantage of it and be active.”
For Dan Ige, he knows he will have the cardio to go five hard rounds. He is also expecting this scrap to be one of the best of the year.
“He is a great opponent and the clash of styles will be great. I have every single tool, we could have a great stand up war. We can go to the ground, clinch, everything about this fight is exciting,” he said. “I’m really excited to go out there and put on a great show and push a pace. It will be hard to top that Emmett and Burgos fight but we are definitely going to look to one-up that one.”
Although Ige believes it will be a back-and-forth fight, the oddsmakers don’t agree. He is around a +230 underdog but says that doesn’t impact him as he is always the underdog.
Yet, in this fight, he plans on breaking Kattar as he does to all his other opponents.
“I’m the underdog in every fight. It is just my style, maybe, I’m not the prettiest, not flashy or the most technical. I’m gritty, I’m tough, and I’ll push a pace,” Ige said. “I’ll break guys, I take their souls and I get in their heads. Some people can’t handle my pace, and it’s something I’m proud of.”
Ultimately, for Dan Ige, he knows this fight is crucial to win. If he beats Kattar, he can enter the title conversation at featherweight and prove he is a tough out for anyone.
“It is important. Every fight is so important, just winning alone is my goal. It is so important because it determines everything. It determines who gets a number one contender shot, the title fight. Everyone has an equal opportunity in this sport, but it is about the ones who take the risks and big tests and big named opponents,” Ige said. “I think I am doing everything right, I’ve taken every fight I’ve been offered. Just training hard and doing everything I can as a professional. I’m on the path to being a champion.”
In the end, Ige expects to get his hand raised and continue on his goal of being the UFC champion by 2021.
“At the end of 2021, I will have the belt around my waist. I’ve said it for years and it is in my notes on my iPhone, in 2018 that I will be the UFC champion in 2021,” he concluded.
Do you think Dan Ige will pull off the upset and beat Calvin Kattar?