Jack Hermansson is no joke in the UFC’s middleweight division, as he proved against David Branch at UFC Philadelphia over the weekend. Now, he has Chris Weidman in his sights, and wants a spot on the next Sweden card.
Philadelphia, PA — Ask the supposed experts to call the finish for the co-main event at UFC on ESPN 2, and nary a one would have said ‘The Joker’ via guillotine within a minute. That’s kind of why fans love MMA, however. It is unpredictable by nature. Anything can happen in a fight, and often, the most unlikely of outcomes is exactly what happens. Odds be damned. Such was the case Saturday at UFC Philadelphia, and it could not have worked out better for said Joker, Jack Hermansson.
Speaking to reporters backstage including Cageside Press, he broke down the finish. “It’s a kind of special guillotine, when you come from the side. That’s something I specialized in, so it was a go-to move and planned way before. During the camp, I was doing that all the time. So no coincidence at all.”
“My first grappling session with my grappling coach (Eduardo Rios), the first session we ever had, he showed me that move,” the Swede continued. “I couldn’t do it for many years, I never got it. He showed me the move, and many years later I thought, ‘I’m going to try this again.’ I started to do it in training and was getting everybody with it. Now I’m doing it in my fights. So this is the second fight in a row, I won my last fight with it as well.”
Branch was a big-name opponent, a former two-division champ outside the UFC. And the UFC Philadelphia card, being on ESPN, and the pair in the co-main event — that was huge. “Can’t ask for more. Great card, co-main event, no injuries, first-round finish, second first-round finish in a row, a submission against a great grappler. I hope this was a statement,” said the likeable middleweight.
So what comes next? During fight week, Hermansson let it be known that he had interest in a fight with Chris Weidman. That remains the goal. “Chris Weidman, a great fighter, former champ. I know the guys at the top, like Jacare [Souza] and [Yoel] Romero are going to make their fights happen. So I think Chris Weidman is right after them in the rankings. So of course, I want to get up there. It would be an honor to fight him.”
Hermansson is also hoping to take part in UFC Stockholm in June — which might be a hard sell for Weidman. “I think he’d be willing to come to Sweden, but it’s not a lot of time [until that card],” Hermansson admitted. “So we’ll see if we can make it happen or not.”
Either way, he’ll be a little more choosy about opponents moving forward. “Up until this point, I never ever thought twice about a fight. I always accepted the second I got it offered.” That has changed now that he’s ranked, however. “When you get the number beside your name, you should be a little bit intelligent to see what the best options are. Because you want to get up there to the top, that’s my goal. So I’ll have to be smart about it and talk to the matchmakers and make it happen.”
Watch the full UFC Philadelphia (UFC on ESPN 2) post-fight press scrum with Jack Hermansson above!