The UFC officially announced today that Chris Fishgold will take on Daniel Teymur in a featherweight bout when the promotion makes its debut in Prague, Czech Republic for UFC on ESPN + 3. The event takes place on Saturday 23rd February and is headlined by a light heavyweight matchup between Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos.
Fishgold, who made his name in Cage Warriors by being their dominant featherweight champion, came up short in his highly anticipated UFC debut back in October when he was defeated by Calvin Kattar by TKO in the first round. He said that his experience in Cage Warriors definitely helped with his transition to the world’s biggest promotion but his travel schedule had a bigger influence on his performance than he had imagined.
“My fight in Moncton was my first long distance fight where I wasn’t there for weeks before so that was a new challenge,” Fishgold said. “I literally flew out on the Monday and suffered from a little bit of jet lag which was very new to me so that meant that I fought with more emotion than usual. I went for the big shot and got caught. This experience has helped me a lot and I can guarantee a better performance in this next fight. My jitters have gone.”
His next challenge comes in the form of Daniel Teymur (6-2) who is still looking for his first win in the UFC after two failed attempts. Fishgold said that he has already watched most of the Swede’s fights and acknowledged that Teymur has much less experience than himself inside the cage. “I know he’s the Nordic kickboxing champion but striking in kickboxing is very different to striking in MMA. I’ve fought high level strikers before and you can’t go off whether they do kickboxing or thai boxing,” he stated. “The same way that someone’s a BJJ black belt – it’s not BJJ for MMA, it’s completely different.”
This event is breaking new ground for the UFC as their expansion across unexplored territories in Europe continues. Fishgold admitted that he has never been to Prague before but he is looking forward to seeing the fans there and meet new people. Although this fight is taking place a long way from home, Liverpool is never far from his heart. “My city is a fighting city; we’re so passionate about all combat sports and sports in general. We all stick together so to fight in my city again one day would be absolutely amazing.”
Fishgold (17-2) reflected on how his fighting style has evolved over the years and believes that previously he was quite single minded in his approach whereas he is now open to using all of his skills inside the octagon. “Starting out in my career, I was all about taking people down and getting a submission which I got a pretty decent record by doing,” he said. “Now, if that doesn’t work the first time I’m happy to just stand up and bang it out – I’ve done that in my last two fights.”
Suffering a defeat in his UFC debut hasn’t at all dampened his ambition or made him doubt his own abilities. Fishgold is still very clear about what he wants to achieve. “Obviously, it’s the title and I think I’m more than capable of getting it. I’m only 26 years old and I’m only going to get more used to the environment and new promotion. I think give me two or three years then a title’s definitely on the cards – I’m going to keep on fighting until they day I get it.”
When asked about his feelings on the upcoming fight and whether or not he had any predictions, Fishgold made his intentions known. “I feel great about it. I feel stronger and faster than ever before. I do know that I hit harder than him and I know I’ve definitely got better grappling than him. Whether it’s a knockout or a submission, it’s definitely going to be a finish!”