Danny Roberts is completely unfazed by his late change of opponent from Sheldon Westcott to Nordine Taleb ahead of UFC on FOX 26 this Saturday.
The laid-back Brit might even be happy with the situation, describing his Fight Pass prelim bout as a “nice fight” just days before they are scheduled meet in the Octagon.
“I’m not going to let something that’s out of my control deter me,” he told MMA Fighting.
“Stylistically, I think this is a nice fight. Whether it’s at the start, middle or end of the card, I think me and Nordine are two fighters that can bring fast, explosive action every time we get in there.
“I think the fans are going to enjoy it and I think the matchup plays into my favor more than some of my other fights have. I think you’ll see a bit more diversity from me the longer the fight goes.”
Roberts showcased his mental strength by bouncing back from his well-publicized TKO at the hands of Mike Perry at UFC 204 with a stunning second-round stoppage of Bobby Nash at UFC Glasgow in July.
Although there was a lot of speculation as to how he would look following the Manchester defeat, Roberts never questioned himself in the lead up to his Glasgow showdown with Nash.
“People are saying this to me, my friends and family, they’re saying your mindset must have changed after getting that knocked out, after being knocked out myself,” he said.
“The truth of the matter is I was never deterred. There was nothing in terms of going into my next fight that hindered me or gave me a lack of clarity as I was approaching the fight. I knew I was going to get the job done and that’s what I did.”
Attention surrounding the late third-round stoppage of the Perry fight prolonged the sting of the defeat. Roberts admitted that the situation did affect him at the time, but it also allowed him to develop a more business-like approach to the fight game.
“I would’ve said it bothered me, but that was at the time. It doesn’t bother me now at all,” he remembered.
“I really see this like a job now. I just worry about doing my job well and representing myself well. I’m my own biggest critic in terms of judging how I fight, but I think it’s an exciting style that people want to watch.
“I’m just grateful for the position I’m in, and if I continue on this path, I think things will go really well for me.”
Consistency is Roberts’ main objective for 2018, and if the victories come like he expects, he thinks that it will lead to an “inevitable” rematch with Perry.
“I do see it happening,” he said, “One-hundred percent, I see it happening. I’ve had dreams of competing on a stage like this since I was a kid and I understand that there’s a process in the fight game where you’re going to have your ups and downs.
“I have no malice towards Mike Perry. Congratulations to him, he has a lot of momentum. He’s proven that he’s a character that people have a lot of time for.
“When the time is right (the rematch will happen). I’ve got to work my way to the top now. I’m not one to trash talk or anything, so I let my fighting do the talking for me.”
As much as a sharp tongue has helped competitors like Conor McGregor gain a massive following, Roberts thinks too many fighters are trying to follow suit without being able to back up their words like the Irishman has during his UFC tenure.
“You see a lot of guys talking a lot of trash and then their fights don’t live up to the hype. It’s turned into a dramatic show right up until the fight starts for a lot of people. I think when that happens, the fans feel a bit betrayed,” stated Roberts.
“Ultimately, this whole trend started with someone we all know — Conor McGregor — and it worked. He showed that a lot of fans wanted something like that, someone like him.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people have started to copy him after him doing so well with it, but it’s unoriginal.
“I just want to be myself and let my fighting do the talking for me. If I disagree with anything my opponent says about me, I’ll see them in the cage and we can sort it out there. I think the fans respect that much more in the long run.”