Jared Cannonier went from rising middleweight fighter on the UFC roster to world title contender in just under six minutes last month at UFC Copenhagen. After defeating Jack Hermansson, Cannonier sees himself mixing things up with the likes of Yoel Romero, Kelvin Gastelum, Darren Till, or anyone blocking his path to a title shot.
“Killa Gorilla” finished Hermansson via second-round TKO in the main event of the UFC’s trip to Denmark. While it was one of the biggest wins of his career — snapping the four-fight winning streak of Hermansson — Cannonier is already back to normal life as Dad.
“It’s all pretty normal now,” Cannonier told BJPENN.com on Friday in his first interview since the victory. “As soon as I get back home, it’s business as usual: ‘Daddy’s home! Daddy, do some homework! Daddy, do this!’, you know what I’m saying? Having a family is very grounding in that regard.
“Back to business, waiting for these injuries to heal up so I can get back to training.”
It was a wild first round for both fighters. Hermansson came out super aggressive looking for takedowns, even landing a highlight-reel suplex that he couldn’t truly build upon. Cannonier was able to get himself out of trouble with powerful scrambles which lead to a momentum shift heading into the second round.
Seconds in the the second frame, Jared Cannonier landed a big uppercut which set up the finish -— which was of no surprise to The MMA Lab fighter.
“He did exactly what I thought he was going to do,” Cannonier explained. “I knew he would try to press the action, push the pace, try to overwhelm me and try to get the win from there. We were prepared for it. My corner and my coaches knew what was going on. They knew I was in complete control — that I could see everything, that I was aware of everything and just reassuring what we already knew; there was nothing he could do to win this fight and it was only a matter of time.
“[Coach John] Crouch definitely pointed out he was ducking underneath my jab trying to get the takedown. He called it, wanted me to throw that six and sure enough, he ducked underneath what he thought was a jab, I threw that six and it landed nicely.”
With everything going on in the middleweight division, the timing almost couldn’t be better for Cannonier to heal up from some injuries.
“The potential of them, one of them, my rib, I’ve displaced a rib before. That’s what I think that is,” Cannonier said. “There’s potential meniscus damage so that’s what we got the MRI for. Everything else is good to go, though. I don’t think any of these injuries are major; anything that’s going to keep me on the sideline for a long, long time. We’re getting them checked out so we know exactly what we’re dealing with.”
With a brand new world champion in Israel Adesanya, who will likely defend against Paulo Costa in his inaugural defense, and a UFC 244 showdown between former world title challengers Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till on the calendar, Cannonier believes the division will need to work itself out a little bit. While he is down to face either Gastelum or Till, there’s another option in the mix that could give the 35-year-old a bit of a surge up the ladder.
“I think… all of the above,” Cannonier said with a smile on his face. “I think a fight with Yoel Romero would put me right up there. He has gone 1-3 in his last four fights. Of course, they’ve been against champions or title contenders.
“I don’t know [what will happen]. I’m gonna let everything work itself out. I’m gonna let the managers and matchmakers work out what’s next. I’m with one of the best management companies, First Round Management, and they don’t pussy-foot when it comes to making big deals like this. I trust those guys with my career and I trust that they will come back with some lucrative numbers to say the least, or interesting fights.”
With his big win over Hermansson in the books, Jared Cannonier has a message for his long-time fans, his new fans, and any fans yet to jump on the wagon:
“Welcome aboard,” Cannonier said. “If they’re talking about me being in these big fights, that’s enough for me because I believe I can win all of these big fights. When you put me in there, I’m going to act accordingly. Call it confidence, call me cocky, that’s my demeanor, that’s my approach, that’s my posture. I’m about to go win a fight. You know what it is. Let’s do this, and I’ll try to make things as quick and as painless as possible.
“So, welcome aboard. I believe you will be inspired with the way I move.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/7/2019.