Modestas Bukauskas knew he always belonged in the UFC.
Bukauskas earned a first-round TKO victory in his Octagon debut but went on to lose his next three fights and was subsequently released from the promotion. He then picked up two wins in Cage Warriors including winning the light heavyweight title. After that, he re-signed with the UFC to step up on short notice to face Tyson Pedro at UFC 284.
Although Bukauskas was a big underdog, he wasn’t letting any of that faze him as he knew he belonged in the UFC.
“It had a weird feeling in a good way. It was a f*****g blur. I got there on Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. and I didn’t sleep that day. I barely had any food and had to get that first crappy workout done,” Bukauskas said to BJPENN.com. “By the next day, it was Thursday, and it was all about the weight cut. But everything felt like I was supposed to be there. For the longest time, I didn’t want to watch the UFC because I wasn’t in it anymore, like I had a UFC license plate, and I wasn’t even in the UFC. But that week felt like I deserved to be there and belonged, and it was amazing to be back there.”
In the fight, Modestas Bukasukas knew Tyson Pedro would be dangerous in the first round, but he had confidence that the longer the fight went the better it would be for him. Ultimately, Bukauskas went the distance with Pedro, and after their fifteen-minute contest he knew he would be the one getting his hand raised.
“I knew I had won but in Australia with those judges, I thought maybe one judge would’ve had it for him. In the first round, I did land the more damaging strikes and even though he took me down, I got back up,” Bukauskas said. “I thought he got the first round, but I knew I won the second and third rounds. If Bruce Buffer had announced it was a split, I would’ve got a lot more nervous. I felt like this was my Lee Chadwick fight in the UFC. It was good, it was an improvement but there is a lot more to be done, but I am happy with my performance.”
After Bukauskas got his hand raised, Pedro took to social media to reveal he was sick the night before the fight right up until he left for the arena. Many thought that took away from Bukauskas’ win, but he doesn’t think so, rather a win is a win, and everyone is battling something.
“I mean look, at the end of the day, I didn’t say anything after the Khalil loss, but I had a knee injury going into that fight,” Bukauskas said. “At the end of the day, I do hope he is okay, but he did message me afterward and said I won fair and square. On the other side, you can say I had to travel halfway across the world and had jet lag and all sorts of other things. But it is what it is. Tyson is a great guy and I wish him the best, but it goes down as a win for me at the end of the day and that’s all that matters.”
With Bukauskas getting his hand raised, he hopes to make a quick turnaround and fight at UFC 286 in London. If that doesn’t happen, he’s open to fighting whoever and whenever as he just wants to stack wins in the UFC.
“I would love to fight on the London card at UFC 286,” Bukauskas concluded. “I doubt it will happen but if there is a chance I can get on it, I would love to. I’ll be ready to go and be ready for whatever is next.”
Were you surprised Modestas Bukauskas beat Tyson Pedro at UFC 284?