Dan Ige believes a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, and heading into his featherweight matchup against Gavin Tucker at UFC Fight Night 187 on Saturday, he has plenty to be happy about.
Ige’s wife, Savannah, is currently 36 weeks pregnant with the couple’s first child, a boy. As fight night nears for Ige, the extra motivation is serving him well.
“I’ve honestly been using it all to my advantage,” Ige told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “There’s so much joy and happiness just knowing my first son is on his way and my wife’s doing good and I’m able to be there for her as a husband and as a loving father but I’m also there as a provider so it just gives me that motivation to wake up every day and go to work to the gym and train hard because it really gives me something to work for. Not that I never had anything to work for before, but this just gives me that added extra motivation and I’m just so excited.”‘
The fight between Ige (14-3) and Tucker (13-1) will be on the fourth fight of a main card that features a welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad as the main event. The main card will be streamed on ESPN+ and begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. HST.
Ige’s bout against Tucker is his first since a July 16 loss to Calvin Kattar, back when Savannah was just weeks pregnant. Ige is currently in quarantine as he prepares to fight at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Luckily for him, it’s the same city where Savannah is giving birth to their son. Ige’s mother is in Las Vegas as well to assist with the birth, and a plan is in place in case the birth comes before the fight. Regardless of which scenario unfolds, Ige will have no doubt in his mind who he’s fighting for.
“She’s a huge inspiration to me. It’s hard because I can’t complain about it because I know she’s carrying this child,” Ige says of his wife. “Her body’s going through changes so when I come home, I’m the servant. Maybe some people will say, ‘Oh, that’s taking away from the fight’ but it’s not. It’s given me extra fuel. When I come home, it gives me a reminder of what I’m working for and it’s a huge motivation.”