UAE Warriors 24: Sylvester Chipfumbu Ready to Complete Cinderella Story

Sylvester Chipfumbu
Sylvester Chipfumbu, UAE Warriors 24 Credit: Twitter/EFC

EFC bantamweight champion Sylvester Chipfumbu had expected to defend his title next month, until the fight was cancelled due to contractual issues. Instead, he’s jumped into another title fight, looking to collect a second belt at UAE Warriors 24 on Friday.

Chipfumbu (7-3) had planned to travel to Abu Dhabi as a cornerman for a teammate at the event. “Then bam, nine days before the fight, I get a call, Ray Borg pulled out,” he told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview ahead of the bout.

Not getting the chance to defend the EFC belt after training and starting the weight cut “broke my heart and everything,” Chipfumbu added, “but I didn’t know that there was something greater even waiting for me.”

Between the news of another setback for Borg, which made the rounds in the media, and UAE Warriors moving to UFC Fight Pass, Chipfumbu’s fight against Vinicius De Oliveira suddenly seems to have a lot more eyeballs on it. There’s also the Dana White factor. He’ll be in attendance, filming an episode of Lookin’ for a Fight. “I definitely have noticed some extra eyeballs,” the South African fighter agreed, “but I won’t get carried away with that.”

Chipfumbu appears extremely focused ahead of Friday’s title fight. “I’m just here to perform, do my job, win the belt, get a contract. I’m not going to be the guy who chases fame, because it’s probably only going to be for one fight,” he stated. “So I’ll just treat it like any other fight, like one of my first fights when no one really knew me, no one was watching.”

“I love the story of the underdog,” Chipfumbu stated, later calling it a “Cinderella Story.”

In terms of preparing for a fight on under ten day’s notice, “there’s nothing much you can do in terms of preparation except do what you always do everyday.” Just keep training and be there mentally, Chipfumbu explained. “Switch on your mental game, because now you have a fight.”

That short notice also had to factor in the trip from South Africa to the UAE, which is about an eight hour flight, and a two hour time difference. “I felt like I missed a bit of time there.”

Breaking down his opponent, Chipfumbu called the Brazilian “a quality guy. He’s a top level athlete. I respect what I’ve seen and what he’s done. As a champion myself, I don’t expect anything less. I’m prepared to fight the best of the best, and this is it. From here, it’s upwards and onward. I just want to fight the best of the best, because I believe I’m the best bantamweight in the world, and I want to cement my legacy before my time is up.”

To prove he’s the best, Chipfumbu is hoping to turn the underdog, Cinderella story he finds himself in into a UFC deal with a big win. Which could very well happen with White in attendance.

“I’m here to turn this into a win, and get that contract. I believe it’s every mixed martial artist’s dream to fight in the UFC, and I’m one of those guys who’s just going to get a contract,” he told us. “What better story to tell, from not knowing when you’re going to fight, to getting a short notice fight, to getting a UFC contract, and another belt on top of that.”

UAE Warriors 24 takes place Friday, October 29, 2021, airing live on UFC Fight Pass.