Jordan “The Monkey King” Leavitt makes his second walk to the octagon on June 5 at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai.
The last time we saw Leavitt (8-0) in action was against UFC veteran Matt Wiman. It took him 22 seconds to knockout Wiman with a slam, which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus and a lot more publicity — good and bad.
“Oh yeah, definitely. I had a lot more negative attention than I’m used to,” Leavitt said in an interview with Cagesidepress. “Oh, that was a dirty way to win; how come you did the splits after you killed somebody, you know, and then there were memes of me doing the Dirty Dancing Patrick Swayze lift with me photoshopped, and there is a body in the background. Um, yeah, there was some hate. ”
He continued, saying “I understand. If you watch the sport, that’s a pretty brutal way to win a fight, and the worse part about it is, it goes to commercial break right after I win because I start to cry. I was freaking out – I had never knocked someone out before. So, I knock him out, I do my split, and I’m like holy crap, I knocked him out, and the doctors are rushing in, and people push me out of the way, and I start to cry and wham! Commercial break,” Leavitt said. “Which is perfect because it would have, you know, they would have hated me and said ‘oh why’d you cry, you know what you did’ kind thing so, it was an emotional rollercoaster for me that night.
I went from poverty level of wealth to lower middle class in 23 seconds.
“I went viral for a slam and got nominated debut of the year and just a lot more attention on me.”
“The Monkey King” faces Claudio Puelles, who is riding a two-fight win streak but hasn’t competed since 2019 – which is very interesting to Leavitt. He sees many similarities in his opponent, which might make it a strange fight, he thinks.
“We’re both grapplers, we’re both southpaws, um, he doesn’t like to strike, and I haven’t had to strike. So, it’s hard to prepare because I’m not sure if he plans on taking me down, which I would love,” Leavitt said. “I would love for him to take me down. Or he tries to keep on the feet, but I’m not sure how dangerous he is on the feet. So for me, it’s like there’s a lot of potential for this fight to be a really boring, awkward fight, and that’s kind of disappointing. I’m mean he could kick me in the head in 10 seconds – a highlight for him, you know.”
“So, I’m totally open to that possibility. I could somehow knockout someone out on purpose this time; the last one was an accident. This fight has a lot of variables. I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I would love to go out and submit him or finish him however I need to, but I’m preparing for three rounds. He’s kind of awkward; we’re both defensively-minded, he’s tough. It should be awkward. I’m excited to flex some new muscles I have been able to in my fight career.”
While Leavitt says he is expecting an awkward fight with Puelles, he does believe he is better in every aspect.
“I definitely think there is an advantage on the feet for me, even though if you watch our fights, that would not seem the case at all. I have power, have defense – I’m very awkward on the feet. On the ground, I think I have the advantage as well. I’m way more dangerous submission-wise, I’m a better wrestler…I think I’m better everywhere,” Leavitt said.
Check out the rest of the interview above, where Jordan Leavitt talks about his thoughts on UFC 262, planning his celebration, how many books he’s read, being a dad, his vendetta against TMZ, and more.
Jordan Leavitt fights Peru’s Claudio Puelles on Saturday, June 5 at UFC Vegas 28. The card is available available on ESPN+ in the U.S., and TSN in Canada.