Calvin Kattar enters his UFC Fight Island 1 main event with Dan Ige on the first fight of a new deal. Something he calls a “six-fight opportunity” — one that could likely land him in the title picture with a statement win.
Stranger things have happened, and the coronavirus pandemic has created opportunities for fighters willing to stay active. Both Ige and Kattar both clearly fit the bill. They’re both entering their second respective contest since things shut down.
There’s plenty of talk, from the usual batch of contenders in the featherweight division. But that’s the problem, really. “There’s an awful lot of talking going on, and not a lot of fighting,” Kattar told media outlets including Cageside Press during the UFC Fight Island 1 virtual media day. “I think you see guys like Dan and myself, want to be busy. It shows who’s hungry. And that type of mindset pays dividends in the long run. So, you know, people can stay inactive as they want. And we’ll catch up to them all eventually.”
Kattar is ranked sixth in the UFC’s 145lb weight class, with Ige four spots below him. The Hawaiian has been complimentary of Kattar taking the fight, given he is fighting down in the rankings. For Kattar, it’s about the opportunity — and he sees some similarity between the two.
“I’m here to compete against the best guys in the world,” he said. Ige, who Kattar pointed out has won six straight, “he earned the shot too. So I think we’re similar in the fact that many people overlooked us and didn’t think we’d have this opportunity ahead of us, and many people probably doubted us along the way. And here we are, this is the main event, Abu Dhabi, Fight Island. So now it’s just simply me going out and showing why I’m the better fighter.”
If he is the better fighter come Wednesday, the question will be where the win leaves him. Ige is a skilled fighter, a top ten fighter, but the fight isn’t exactly a title eliminator.
“A big win over Dan Ige puts me one step closer to ultimately becoming the champion of the UFC in the featherweight division,” Kattar opined. “That’s my goal, bring that belt back to Boston, and a win over Dan Ige is a step in the right direction.”
Given Kattar has one fight under his belt during the pandemic, we inquired about how things had changed with the coronavirus testing and health protocols. “I think that the UFC is doing a better job at how they’re going through their processes,” Kattar replied. “May 9 was their first event, and they did as best as they could. I think they’ve tightened up every show and out here in Abu Dhabi everyone’s really safe and they’re going the extra mile. So that’s really the main takeaway.”
Watch the full UFC Fight Island 1 virtual media day press scrum with Calvin Kattar above.