Debuting at UFC Rochester, Charles Jourdain Sees MMA Career as a Sprint: “We’re Not Playing Golf Here”

While slow and steady might win some races, Charles Jourdain, debuting at UFC Rochester, sees his MMA career as a sprint, given the nature of the sport.

Ottawa, ON — As a debuting fighter, Montreal’s Charles Jourdain is getting his first exposure to the UFC marketing machine. Stepping into the octagon for the first time at UFC Rochester on May 18, he’ll be facing Desmond Green, in Green’s own backyard. Ahead of that, the promotion made him available to reporters back stage at UFC Ottawa, where he realized just how visible his newfound home can make him.

“It’s amazing. I didn’t know I was known this much. There’s so many people here and I’m from Montreal, not Ottawa,” he told reporters including Cageside Press backstage at the Canadian Tire Centre. “So many people came up to me saying, ‘Good luck on your fight, we appreciate you.’ The energy has been amazing. I’d love to fight in Canada once, but for now, it’s going to be Rochester.”

Jourdain feels he has one attribute that will make him stand out from the rest of the pack in the 145lb division. “There’s not many featherweights with a 100-percent finishing rate like me,” he observed. Jourdain is 9-1 as a pro, and yes, he has finished all of those fights. “Most of the guys are small, some don’t have knockout power, and I have only finishes. I knew I was on the radar and it came. So let’s go. This is the UFC, so I accepted and I’m proud of it.”

On the short-notice switch of opponent in his last fight, Jourdain said that “it’s not as big of a deal as people think because [Damian Lapilus] was a southpaw. I was training for Jesse Ronson, who’s a southpaw. I knew he was going to be stronger than me, bigger than me. It didn’t change as much as I thought. He was tougher than I expected, but everything was the same for my performance.”

It’ll be another short notice bout when he steps into the octagon for the first time. “I didn’t expect a short-notice fight,” he said of his UFC debut against Green. “I would have loved to have the same debut that Marc-Andre Barriault had, the crowd was so amazing for him. But this is the UFC. They call, you say yes. I’m grateful for it.”

While a natural featherweight, the Green fight, of course, is at lightweight. It’s simply a way in for Jourdain, who doesn’t plan on sticking around 155 long-term. “The day they called me, I weighed myself to know what weight I was and I was at 153,” he revealed. “I’m a small guy. I’m a good weight for featherweight, but not for lightweight. I’m going to be very small, but I faced adversity once, I can face it twice.”

In addition to his intended weight class, Jourdain also offered some insight into the philosophy of his fighting career. “Some people say, ‘It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.’ But we’re not playing golf here,” said Jourdain. “We have so many injuries that our body can and can’t endure. I’m seeing my career as a sprint. I’m making every move [with that in mind]. I fought 10 times, and this is going to be my 11th fight in three years. It’s a lot and I enjoy the process. I’m not injured, I’m in great shape, so I’ll keep it as a sprint for now.”

That sprint continues in Rochester, and Jourdain intends to feed off the energy of the crowd, even though they’ll be behind Green. “It’s going to be amazing. Even though it’s enemy territory, it’s going to have a big energy because there are so many people who are going to be there for him. Negative energy, positive energy, I don’t care, as long as there’s energy.”

“Some boos, some cheers, I need something. Every time I fought in the TKO organization, I was on the main card, main event, co-main event every time,” he continued. “Big crowds, many people. The stadium was shaking when I was in there. I didn’t want to have a regular fight on a regular card against a guy who’s not from there and have like 20 people there. When you’re on the prelims there’s not many people in the arena. So I’m grateful that there’s going to be a lot of people there for him, there’s going to be a lot of people for me. I need this energy.”

Jourdain’s big-fight experience might lead you to believe he’ll be immune from any octagon jitters in his debut. But what has really helped calm his nerves, he explained, is “being here [at UFC Ottawa] today. Seeing the cage, seeing everybody. I’m going to see Cowboy in a couple of minutes or hours and I can’t wait. Seeing the Octagon and everything gave me a feeling that I’m so grateful for because it’s not going to be as new when I get to Rochester.”

Jourdain, who growing up looked up to fighters like B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar, makes his debut at UFC Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY on May 18. Watch the full press scrum from UFC Ottawa with Charles Jourdain above!