Flyweight Kai Kara-France hasn’t fought since back in February, at home in New Zealand. So when the call came to fight this weekend at UFC 253, despite only one name being offered, “Don’t Blink” jumped at the chance. Even with opponent Brandon Royval being behind him in the divisional rankings.
However, Kara-France (21-8, 1NC) has been rewarded with a main card spot on one of the biggest PPVs of the year. Not a bad trade-off, really. “It’s definitely a massive thing to be on the main card as a flyweight, and I want to make the most of it,” Kara-France said this week during the UFC 253 virtual media day.
“There’s going to be two title fights on this card, and this is probably one of the biggest sporting events in New Zealand this year.” Everybody, said Kara-France, is going to be tuning in for UFC 253, especially given four City Kickboxing athletes are competing. Plus, Rugby isn’t in full swing just yet. Which means “people that don’t necessarily watch fighting are going to be tuning in. I want to capitalize on that, I want to make them remember my name, and make them know that I’m here to stay, I’m here to climb the rankings and get a title shot.”
Kara-France recognizes the importance of his fight at UFC 253 on Saturday. Especially given the timing, with a lot of change on the horizon for 125lbs. “This is a big fight for the flyweight division. It’s a great time to be a flyweight right now. There’s so much competition,” he said.
“Anyone can beat anyone, especially at top five. There’s a lot of good match-ups happening right now. I know in November, Cody [Garbrandt]’s fighting Deiveson Figueiredo for the flyweight title, and I’m actually not mad at it,” Kara-France added. “It’s going to bring a lot of spotlight to our division, him being former champ, and being a main event slot. It’s going to be good for us.” On top of that, he added, Brandon Moreno fighting Alex Perez is “another great flyweight fight. I’ll happily fight any of those guys. I’ve got to focus on Brandon and get through him first, and then one of those match-ups will be there.”
Royval, as stated, is who Kai Kara-France is immediately focused on. “Brandon’s a tough opponent. I know it’s only his second fight [in the UFC], but he’s coming off a good win, and I know he’s going to bring the fight to me,” said Kara-France.
But he’ll be going off to war with his family at City Kickboxing. “Seeing my teammates fight is definitely going to add motivation, and get me excited to put on a show,” the New Zealander said. “We all train together, and we all know what’s expected. That’s going to be a key for victory that night. Just the atmosphere backstage, and putting it all on the line for each other.”
Watch the full UFC 253 virtual media day interview with Kai Kara-France above.