UFC 240: Hakeem Dawodu Not Cool With Holloway Being Face of Canadian MMA

Having a Hawaiian as the face of Canadian MMA makes no sense when there are Canadians like himself fighting in the UFC, Hakeem Dawodu said post-fight at UFC 240.

Edmonton, AB — He’s no fan of chasing. That was Hakeem Dawodu’s response to opponent Yoshinori Horie’s actions in the octagon Saturday at UFC 240. Dawodu, a highly touted prospect in the featherweight division, wound up earning a finish with a head kick in the third round of the preliminary card fight. However, through the first two rounds, Horie was on his bicycle.

“I wasn’t too impressed with my first two rounds, but I did what every warrior did. I picked it up, and did what I had to do to get the finish,” Dawodu told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight at Edmonton’s Rogers Place. “I’m surprised he chose that tactic, especially for a UFC debut. I know it’s not crowd pleasing.”

“I’ll go back to the drawing board and make sure I can deal with a runner like that again,” the Canadian added.

“Definitely frustrated, there was a couple of times I just wanted to drop my hands and be like ‘come on, man, what are you doing?'” he said of the feeling in the cage. “But at the same time, that was his game plan. He did land two or three punches on me that really pissed me off. I’m on of those guys who don’t like getting hit.”

The plan now for Dawodu is to jump on the UFC Vancouver card in September, preferably against a ranked opponent. Although he seems willing to take on anybody.

A quick turnaround, after what looked like a rough weight cut. Dawodu admitted he was a bit nervous ahead of stepping on the scale, as at last check prior to weigh-in, he was 146.1lbs, just over the limit. “When I got back to the hotel, I was able to take a little piss, just out of a miracle, and just made it.”

He was bigger come fight night. “I don’t like to put too much back on, but right now, I’m probably about 166.” Twenty pounds above featherweight, in other words.

Throughout fight week, Hawaii’s Max Holloway had been semi-seriously referred to as the new face of Canadian MMA. In the absence of GSP, and with Rory MacDonald gone from the UFC, Holloway has taken to Canada, and fought in several main events here. It doesn’t sit well with Hakeem Dawodu, however. “Max is cool but he’s not Canadaian. I’m Canadian. How can he be the face of Canadian MMA when he’s from Hawaii?” he questioned.

“I’m the Canadian, I’m the one who’s grown up here, I’m the one who’s representing the country,” he continued. “Definitely, I’m one of the faces of the new wave of Canadian MMA, and that don’t even make sense to me.”

If he continues to find success at home, he may emerge as just that. Though if the Vancouver card doesn’t work out, “I’ve always wanted to fight in Brazil,” he said. “For some reason I get a lot of DMs from Brazilian girls and stuff like that. I don’t know why, but I always get like mad DMs from a lot of Brazilians. Brazil is one place I definitely wanted to check out.”

“But most important, I’m half Nigerian, so I think UFC Africa would be quite suiting,” he added. While no official trip to Africa is announced, it may be in the promotion’s long-term plans. There’s a whole bunch of Nigerian fighters in the UFC, Dawodu pointed out, including Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya, both UFC title holders, and Sodiq Yusuff. It would certainly make sense at some point.

Watch the full UFC 240 post-fight press scrum with Hakeem Dawodu above!