UFC 249: Calvin Kattar Feels He Can Get a Leg Up on Competition Fighting Under Adversity

Calvin Kattar’s fight with Jeremy Stephens had been cancelled twice before finally coming together at this weekend’s UFC 249.

And even then, the bout hit a treacherous bump in the road when Stephens missed weight Friday morning. “Lil Heathen” missed the mark by 4.5lbs, not a small amount in weight cutting terms.

Kattar will pick up 30% of his opponent’s purse due to Stephens coming in heavy. And the show goes on.

If Kattar isn’t a house-hold name yet, it’s not for a lack of excitement. “I feel like I’ve been flying under the radar my whole career,” he said Thursday, speaking to reporters including Cageside Press at the UFC 249 media day. “But in this match-up, I think people know what they’re getting.”

Asked how the coronavirus pandemic had complicated training for the bout, Kattar said  that he was “the same as everybody else” in that regard. “We’re all dealing with it. In that sense, it’s an equal playing field.” Katter added, however, that he responds well to adversity. “When sh*t hits the fan, I dig deeper. So for me, it’s possibly a chance to get a leg up on the competition.”

“Really, I’m dialed in right now, ready to go,” he added. Training for months thanks to the fight being booked twice previously. “Third time’s a charm.”

In his last fight, a high profile scrap against another surging featherweight, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Kattar came up just short. The takeaway from the loss was simple: “I know I belong with all these guys,” said Kattar.

“Next time I’ve just got to capitalize,” Kattar stated, adding that he wanted to go up against more big names. “I need to go out and earn some more big-moment opportunities.”

Calvin Kattar faces Jeremy Stephens at UFC 249 this Saturday, May 9 at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. The main card airs live on PPV following televised and online prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).