UFC on ESPN 12’s Brendan Allen Doesn’t Buy Ian Heinisch’s Comeback from “Self-Inflicted Trauma”

Just getting to this weekend’s UFC card has been a roller coaster ride for Brendan Allen. Opponents came, and opponents went. One thing remained the same: “All In” was all in on fighting. Finding someone to face him who felt the same was the struggle.

“I’ve never had opponents back out until I got to the UFC,” Allen (14-3) revealed during the UFC on ESPN 12 media day. “So that’s pretty weird to me.”

If Allen seems frustrated, it’s for good reason. The former LFA middleweight champion is just happy to be fighting this weekend, really. He’s been vocal about finding a fight for weeks. Then opponent Ian Heinisch dropped off the card. “I never had opponents back out. I’ve had opponents say no to the fight. But once contracts are signed or we’ve had verbal agreements, there’s never been anything for me in LFA, local promotions, anything like that.”

In his first UFC fight, Allen recalled, “Eric Spicely pulled out and I got Kevin Holland. And then Ian just pulled out and obviously I got Kyle Daukaus. So it’s different, but I’m in the UFC. All these guys are tough. I treat them all like they’re the best. And again, it’s just being the best me that I can be. And I feel like I’m the best in the world. I just got to manifest that.”

There’s a reason Allen is particularly peeved with losing the Heinisch fight. And it’s still one he wants back. For starters, “I really wanted that fight with Ian, just personally and then I wanted that spot more than anything. I wanted that top 15. Still, my goal this year is to crack top 15 but now it’s going to be later in the year as long as everything goes well.”

Not to mention that after pulling out of the fight, Heinisch announced he was heading to Thailand to train. “I just don’t understand how you can say you’re injured and then post later that you’re going to Phuket to train. Like, that’s okay, he’s gonna need those extra three months for me.”

More specifically, the desire to fight Heinisch came about years ago, outside the UFC. “I’ve been trying to fight him since he got signed to LFA. I still think I have the messages to where I asked to fight him when he got signed. And they told me no, they said he was a wrestler and he would just try to take me down or hold me,” revealed Allen. That, however, did not dissuade him from pursuing the match-up.

“I told him that it didn’t matter. I’d still tap him if it happened, but they told me no, and it never happened. And then he got a lot of hype, still has a lot of hype for whatever the case may be.” Allen is referring to Heinisch’s history as a “former drug dealer.” Heinisch, in fact, was imprisoned in Spain for drug smuggling, and later at Riker’s Island in New York, before cleaning up his act.

Heinisch’s redemption story has been a big selling point in his fighting career. Allen, however, is not impressed. “To me, it’s like you put yourself in that situation. So how’s it a comeback? I don’t know. It’s self-inflicted trauma per se. It was self-inflicted. So I don’t really agree with any of that,” he said. Between that, “and then things that I’ve heard or seen about him in the gym,” Allen is gunning for Ian Heinisch. First, however, he’ll have to contend with Daukaus, a 9-0 fighter who took the bout on short notice.

“I’m just lucky that I still got a fight, that I got an opponent, so I can go on there and fight and make some money for my daughter and my wife,” Allen admitted.

Watch the full UFC on ESPN 12 media day scrum with Brendan Allen above.