Impa Kasanganay wants to get back to fighting multiple times a year, and is looking to do so with a statement win over his next opponent.
After suffering the first loss of his professional career in 2020, Kasanganay (9-1) got back into the win column with a second-round submission over Sasha Palatnikov on the UFC’s second ABC card in April. Making his welterweight debut, it was a big win for Kasanganay, given that the loss he suffered had been played over and over and over for months. It was a viral knockout, and everyone saw it.
However, that knockout loss (to Joaquin Buckley) didn’t faze him at all. It did not make him timid or gun shy. On the contrary, the loss was a blessing in disguise because he moved to his new gym Sanford MMA, which has changed him.
“Going into that fight, I was like, man, let’s go! I didn’t get a fight for so long in between in a way; it could have been longer. To step into a fight again, I was filled with gratitude and filled with joy. I was so grateful to be in there and go to work and do what I love. So I wasn’t going to be timid or gunshy or anything like that. I threw my shots, fought the fight, finished it, and I’m going to keep doing that,” Kasanganay told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview.
“My goal was to be undefeated, but I’m grateful for what’s gone on in my life because it put me down the right direction. I told my dad in the ambulance in Abu Dhabi; my dad cornered me that night. He will be in the corner this fight as well…But when we were in the ambulance, I said, don’t worry, Dad, I’m going to finish every fight from here on out, I’m going to claim victory.”
“Second place isn’t an option. It’s just not the case. I’m grateful, without that [Joaquin] Buckley fight, I don’t know if I would have ever come to Sanford. I’ve never been more comfortable at a gym. Gym-O in North Carolina wasn’t the place for me anymore. I love all those guys, but I know God has a different plan for my life. I have my own path, and he set me on it. I will never let something like that happen again, and I have the opportunity to improve from it,” Kasanganay said.
“King Impa” is rolling right along and fights Carlston Harris (16-4) at UFC Vegas 37.
“Carlston is awesome, man. I watched him in Brave and saw his debut against Christian Aguilera. He is a solid fighter, and I’m looking forward to it,” Kasanganay said.
The Congolese-American fighter likes the match-up and believes he will knock him out.
“I think it’s a great match-up. I know what I’ve been doing here at Sanford and what I’ve been doing in my own life will come through for this fight. Carlston is a solid fighter. He is crafty, funky, solid grappling. I’m honored because I’ve always wanted to fight the elite, and I’m on my way. Carlston is an excellent fight, and I’m getting fights to move my career,” Kasanganay said. “I’m going to finish this fight, claim victory and impose my will. I believe I will finish this fight with a knockout. Right hand, body shot, or head kick.”
Kasanganay loves to be active. In his first year as a professional fighter, he fought six times. In 2020, he fought three times and was hoping for two more, but getting knocked out, put a halt to his plans. However, he wants to get back to staying active.
If Impa Kasanganay had it his way, he would go back to ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi to get a win or fight on the Madison Square Garden card in November. Then, fight once more in December and then start it all over again.
Before all that, however, Kasanganay fights Carlston Harris next Saturday at UFC Vegas 37.
Watch the rest of the interview with Impa Kasanganay above, where he talks about his second fight at welterweight, Sanford MMA, him reflecting on the Contender Series, who he wants next, and so much more.