Hawaii’s Dan Ige will make his return to the octagon this weekend as the 10th-ranked featherweight once again relishes in the role of the underdog.
The Haleiwa native will be featured as the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 2017 against the undefeated Movsar Evloev (15-0) on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ige (15-5), is coming off of back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, but to say that he has had a challenging string of bouts would be a severe understatement. Ige most recently suffered decision losses to title contenders Chan Sung Jung and Josh Emmett. Prior to that he earned a performance of the night bonus in a first round knockout of Gavin Tucker which was a bounce back victory following his five round decision loss to Calvin Kattar in the first main event opportunity of his career.
Dating back to 2019 Ige has been the underdog in five of his last six bouts, going 3-3 in that stretch.
This Saturday, he is yet again in the role facing an undefeated Russian who is considered by many as a rising star in the featherweight ranks,
“That’s what my legacy is going to be at the end of the day. The guy that fought anyone and everyone. I was just saying, I would literally be a coward if I tried to choose an easy route to the top. I just want to be the guy that’s known to fight the best guys in the world and that’s all I’m out here to do. To test myself and to grow as a fighter and eventually reach the top,” said Ige.
Despite coming off of consecutive losses, Ige feels that he has reached a pivotal reset to his career. Having broken into the top-15 of the UFC featherweight rankings in 2019, has not left the title picture since and is currently slotted at the 10th spot. Recently, he says that he has regained his focus on what allowed him to reach the heights that he has.
“I’m on a fresh slate if you want to call it that. I’m 0-2 in my last two fights but I see myself as 0-0, it sounds cheesy to say but I’m a new person and I’m starting fresh and I’m having fin with this again. I kind of grew kind of bitter over the sport over the last year and I put a lot of pressure on myself when I became a Dad. Like, I had to financially provide for my family and that was just an extra pressure that I really didn’t need,” said Ige. “Because, I never got into this sport for money. I got into this sport to be the best in the world and I knew that money would eventually come. I tried to get back to my roots. What got me to the UFC? I was fighting for 10 free tickets. I fought for free my first pro fight and I fought for $500, it was never about the money, it was to the best. That’s kind of the mindset I have again.”
Ige and Evloev will square off on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 207 at 10:00am HST on ESPN+