Hakeem Dawodu was already excited about fighting at UFC 231 in Toronto when his phone started blowing up a few weeks ago.
The 27-year old Canadian knew his showdown against Kyle Bochniak had all the makings of a potential ‘Fight of the Night’ but it still didn’t explain the messages he started receiving.
“I was just chilling and all of a sudden my phone started blowing up and they’re like ‘you’re on the main card’ and I said no, you’re tripping,” Dawodu explained when speaking to MMAWeekly ahead of UFC 231. “I called my coach and I said ‘I think I’m on the main card’ and he was like no.
“So I called my management and they checked it out and yeah, I’m on the main card.”
There’s no exact rhyme or reason to how the UFC decides to assemble the main card versus a preliminary card but there were plenty of choices available for the pay-per-view event on Saturday night.
Two title fights will headline the show so that left thee more spots for the main card at UFC 231 is littered with ranked fighters including a potential No. 1 contender’s bout in the women’s flyweight division.
Ultimately, the UFC opted to put Dawodu’s fight against Bochniak on the main card and he’s not going to let them down for making that decision.
“I’m trying not to let it affect my performance but at the same time, I’m going to make the most of it,” Dawodu said. “I’m going to have a lot of eyes on me so I’m going to make sure I put on a performance of a lifetime and make the most of it and get my name out there.”
“It’s got ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Performance of the Night’ written all over it. It’s definitely going to be a banger.”
The other benefit to being on the main card is Dawodu knows this is a star making opportunity for him with the most possible eyeballs on his fight.
Bochniak already gained similar attention when he went to war with highly touted featherweight prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov in a ‘Fight of the Night’ effort. Dawodu says he’s going to do everything possible to deliver the same kind of thrilling performance that leaves eyes wide open and jaws on the floor.
“I’m super excited. I’m going to be able to showcase my skills,” Dawodu said. “I’m not going to be chasing him around like the last guy. I just got to make sure I stay calm and stick to the game plan and everything will fall together quite naturally and organically. This is a perfect matchup for me. I’m just going to make the most of it and really get some exposure out of this.”
Dawodu won’t make any bold predictions on how this fight will end and he’s not going to promise some off the wall move just to get fans to pay attention to him.
Instead, Dawodu is just going to go out and be himself and he knows that’s more than enough to get people interested in watching him fight again.
“This fight I’m just going to be the original ‘Mean’ Hakeem,” Dawodu said. “I’m going to show my skill set and I know if I show my best ability, I know that is what the fans are going to want to see.