UFC 263: Paul Craig Doesn’t Mind Being The Gatekeeper

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Glendale, AZ — Paul Craig was supposed to face off with fellow light heavyweight Jamahal Hill back in March. That didn’t happen, with Hill contracting COVID-19. Instead, here they are months later, ready to throw down at UFC 263.

Paul was willing to take just about any fight to stay busy. “Ultimately, that’s what I asked for. I said, ‘is there any face available?’ and they said ‘we’d really like you to face Jamahal Hill.'”

Scotland’s Craig believes he knows the reason why.

“I think it’s to do with the test. It’s been mentioned that I’m the gatekeeper of the division. If you can get by Paul, then you’re in the top 10. And that’s ultimately all it is, I think.”

“That was the fight they wanted, and I’m like ‘I just want to fight.'” When the fight initially fell through in March, Paul specifically asked for anyone in the top 15. “Everybody in the top 15 was matched up. So when your boss tells you you’re working, you’re working. When he tells you you’re not working, you’re not working.”

Being deemed a gatekeeper has become something of a drag in combat sports. But Paul isn’t bothered by the label.

“It doesn’t bother me. As I said, it’s a job. If the UFC don’t want to push me up the rankings, and they want me to stay here and just be the guy that does the damage, then I’m happy to do that. As I said, this is a job first and foremost, and I treat it that way, with regards to training, with regards to media stuff. It’s a job first and foremost, and my job is to be where my boss tells me to be.”

Watch the full UFC 263 media day scrum with Paul Craig above. The event takes place this Saturday, June 12, at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The main card airs live on PPV.

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