Sodiq Yusuff had a big opportunity at UFC 241. He fought on the main card and he knew it was his chance to make his a household name.
Ultimately, Yusuff did just that as he knocked out his opponent Gabriel Benitez in the first round. For the 26-year-old, the fight went exactly as he and his team thought it would.
“I didn’t want to take as much damage but I knew it was a risk worth taking. When the UFC put me on the main card, I knew I was going to take a risk to get the reward,” Yusuff told BJPENN.com. “I am willing to test my power against anyone in the weight class. When the opportunity came with so many eyes on you, you need to do something to stand out. So, I was shooting for a first-round knockout and if I couldn’t get the finish I wanted to make it Fight of the Night.”
With the win, Yusuff improved to 10-1 as a pro and 3-0 inside the Octagon. For the Nigerian-born fighter, the hope is he can fight in front of his new home in Washington D.C. later this year. He wants to have the chance to fight in front of his friends and coaches and believes that it will happen. If it does, he hopes he is fighting someone with a number beside there name as well.
“I want to get on that D.C. card. I told them I want to be on it and if I’m not on it, someone dropped the ball,” Yusuff explained. “It makes perfect sense. But I think a ranked opponent makes sense. If it is not a ranked opponent at least give me a name.”
Another fight Yusuff is still interested in is one with Kron Gracie. Yusuff called Gracie out after his last fight, and remains hopeful it happens, even if it has to take place in a couple of years.
Something else Yusuff is looking forward to is a UFC event in Africa. After talking with the UFC, and seeing the rise of African-born fighters like Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, and Francis Ngannou, he suspects the Octagon heads to the continent next year.
“If I had to say it would happen next year for sure. Right now, they are probably looking for a venue,” Sodiq Yusuff explained. “All of us are shining bright right now. I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen next year or in early 2021. It would have to be South Africa. It would mean the world. To be able to fight in Africa would be super cool.”
Right now, Sodiq Yusuff is just healing up from his fight and waiting for what is next. Who do you think he should fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/27/2019.