Needless to say, Felicia Spencer’s night at UFC 250 didn’t end the way she wanted it to. The former Invicta FC featherweight champ’s first shot at UFC gold ended in tough loss to women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes. But count Charles Jourdain among those who were fans of Spencer’s heart that night.
Speaking to Cageside Press during the UFC on ESPN 10 media day, featherweight Jourdain gave his take on his fellow Canuck’s showing.
“When I saw Felicia work her way through the rankings — she fought Cyborg, she fought Amanda Nunes. And she got big hits from these fighters. When Amanda Nunes or Cris Cyborg hits you, most of the time, girls would go down,” observed “Air” Jourdain. “And she didn’t. It was something I was excited about, and I’m very proud to be Canadian, and very proud she represented us the way she did. Even though she didn’t get the result she wanted, people now know Felicia, and they know you can’t take out that girl. She’s a fighter.”
Jourdain is also a gritty fighter himself, one who surprised many by picking up a win over Doo-Ho Choi, in enemy territory in South Korea. Now, Jourdain is back, for his first fight in Las Vegas, against Team Alpha Male fighter Andre Fili.
It’s not under optimal circumstances, of course. Jourdain hails from Quebec, and the Canadian province has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus.
“Of course it impacted the camp, in the way that I didn’t have full gyms. I had one gym where it was okay for me to train,” Jourdain said when asked about the mood at home, and the impact the virus had wrought on his training. “For most of my camp, I’ve been training outside with my brother. Literally wrestling in the grass, doing jiu-jitsu in the grass. Sprinting outside.”
Jourdain, however, found a positive take on the adjustment. “It was something very fun for me to do. Some fighters say ‘I prefer air conditioning, tatami mats,’ this and that. Me, I like my sport too much to stop doing it because of the current situation.”
In addition to Jourdain and his brother finding creative ways to train, his jiu-jitsu coach eventually secured some training partners at a gym who had tested negative.
“I have no excuse after this fight. I’m not going to say ‘oh the whole pandemic thing, didn’t have a proper training camp, I didn’t have this…’ I’m not a complainer,” Jourdain added. “I did the best I could do with the current situation.”
And while he’s an entertainer, Jourdain is also looking forward to the empty venue — the UFC Apex — on Saturday. Where he’ll be able to hear everything, including his opponent’s corner. “Hopefully my guys keep speaking in French so he won’t know what I’m going to do,” Jourdain quipped.
Fili knows that Jourdain is the type of fighter who likes to fire off flying knees and flashy attacks frequently. He’d said as much earlier at the UFC on ESPN 10 media day. For his part, Charles Jourdain is looking out for “level changes and traps,” he said. “I don’t think his wrestling is that good, but it’s all about timing. Andre Fili’s timing is second to none I think in the featherweight division, in the takedowns. He’s not forcing them, just always timing it perfectly.”
“He’s going to lay some traps here and there, and it’s my job to stay vigilant,” Jourdain added. At the same time, however, it’s clear he’s learned from past mistakes. He’s not about to take an overly conservative approach. “I need to be wild. I need to be me to win. I lost against Desmond Green because I said ‘I’m going to fight like a UFC fighter, I’m going to be prudent.’ I fought like someone I was not. That’s why I lost. I’m not doing the same mistake twice.”
UFC on ESPN 10 takes place this Saturday, June 13 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. The card airs live on ESPN and ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).