UFC 246: Ode Osbourne “Past Excitement” for Octagon Debut

Ode Osbourne Contender Series
Ode Osbourne Credit: UFC Fight Pass

More than ready for his octagon debut at UFC 246 against Brian Kelleher, Contender Series alum Ode Osbourne gives his take on finishing fights, and fighters who play patty cake.

Ode Osbourne (6-2) joins the UFC, officially, at UFC 246. The Contender Series winner will be making his octagon debut against Brian Kelleher, which is no easy assignment, of course. The bantamweight battle takes place on the event’s early preliminary card.

“I’m pretty excited man, but I’m past excitement, you know? Because I’ve known about this fight for a while now,” Osbourne told Cageside Press recently. “I was excited for the first two months. Then after a while, it goes in levels. You get excited, then you’re like ‘okay, I’m ready to fight.'”

That said, Osbourne is indeed excited to fight on what could be one of the biggest cards of 2020, right out of the gate.

Osbourne has worked his tail off to get to this point, and scoffs at anyone who thinks he’s had an easy path to the UFC. The promotion certainly hasn’t gone easy on recent Contender Series winners, throwing them right in with killers like Kelleher.

“There’s no such thing as an easy road. All the sweat and tears and blood that were shed leading up to those points, there’s no such thing as an easy road,” Osbourne insisted. “Anybody who thinks that’s an easy road can go kick rocks. Because I know all the crying and the pain and the suffering that I did to get up to this point. Sh*t, I don’t give a f*ck what they’ve got to say about that. There’s no such thing as an easy road to get to where that point is.”

“If you get to where that point is, where Dana White calls you on Contender Series,” he added, “you’ve earned it.”

As for his relatively tough draw for a first opponent, Osbourne, who also works as a teacher with inner city kids in Wisconsin, feels the UFC is sizing him up. “I think they want to test me, to see what I got. I love that. I love a good test, I love a good challenge, I love all the pressure of everything. I don’t really let pressure become me, I block everything out. My mind is like a stoic mountain, or a rock.”

“I think they really try to see what you’re about,” he continued. Which may not be far off the mark. “‘Okay, let’s put him in there against a tough guy and see what he’s really about,’ you know what I mean? So I like it. It’s a good test.”

Kelleher, of course, holds wins over the likes of Damian Stasiak and former bantamweight champion Renan Barao inside the octagon. Plus wins over UFC alum Andre Soukhamthath and current UFC fighter Julio Arce (twice) from outside the promotion.

The level his opponent has been at is clearly not lost on Ode Osbourne, but he plans on getting the job done early regardless. “I’m trying to go in there and finish him in the first round,” said Osbourne. Before adding “not just him, I’m trying to go in there and finish everybody in the first round. That’s where my mind’s at. I didn’t get to the UFC just to get to the UFC.”

Instead, “I came here to be champion. I’m not trying to go in here and have these fights last. I’m trying to go in here and just devour people. Make it look easy.”

It’s a subject Osbourne revisited a bit later. When the idea of fighting for your spot, almost like a job interview — very much the principle behind Dana White’s Contender Series — was brought up, ‘The Jamaican Sensation’ responded by observing that “people are out here trying to play patty cake and sh*t. They’re out here twiddling their thumbs, trying to make rounds last, and try to hold people down.”

“If you’re trying to win rounds by points, why the f*ck are you fighting?” he questioned. “Why did you become a fighter? Did you become a fighter to last? I’m a fighter by nature. I bet you my ancestors were pillaging villages and doing some crazy sh*t. I’m a fighter by heart, by nature. I’m not out here to be lackadaisical.”

“All my fights, even the two fights I’ve lost, I guarantee you, both of my opponents I’ve lost to were like ‘man, I don’t want to fight that guy again, ever.'” We’ll find out if Brian Kelleher feels the same following their fight next month.

UFC 246 takes place January 18, 2020 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Osbourne vs. Kelleher goes down on the early preliminary card, airing live on UFC Fight Pass.

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