Las Vegas, NV — It’s no small secret that 0-3 is a death sentence in the UFC. So Tyson Nam, a longtime veteran of the MMA game who had dropped his first two fights in the octagon, knew he was potentially fighting for his job on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 10.
Thankfully, the outcome in his third showing on the big stage was a very different result. Nam (19-11-1) fired off a highlight reel knockout of debuting GLORY kickboxer Zarrukh Adashev. The finish took all of 32 seconds.
Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press post-fight, Nam admitted that being cut had been on his mind.
“After two losses in a row, I felt like ‘sh*t they’re going to cut me any day now.’ When I was given a third shot at it, it was do or die for me,” he explained following the fight. “I felt like I was fighting for a pink slip tonight.”
Nam may have surprised fans. But he knew the finish was in him. “I win more than half my fights just like this. It’s not surprising I was going to do it, I just needed someone that wanted to fight with me,” he said. The debuting Adashev, who missed weight for the bout, was apparently that someone. The kickboxer had previously competed for Bellator MMA.
“I love fighting with strikers, because I always say that they can hit me hard, but I can hit them harder,” added Nam.
It was an emotional night, something that clearly showed in the cage afterward. You could read Nam’s face like a book. “I just carry a lot of weight on top of my shoulders. It’s been a long time in the making,” he said of finally earning a win on the sport’s biggest stage. “I’ve been doing things just like this in other organizations against UFC-caliber guys, just not in the UFC. So now that I’ve actually shown this on U.S.-televised soil, now you guys will know. I’m known in internationally. Russia, Kazakhstan, all the way out there, they know me. But now America knows me.”