Las Vegas, NV — Canada’s Hakeem Dawodu got back in the win column at UFC Vegas 47, picking up a unanimous decision over former TUF winner Mike Trizano.
It’s a good thing, too. Had the featherweight known as “Mean” Hakeem not picked up the win, he would have considered walking away from MMA entirely.
“Honestly, I didn’t want to share this, but tonight was one of those where I was like, if I lose again, I’m retiring,” Dawodu (13-2-1) told media outlets including Cageside Press following the bout at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. “It was one of those fights for me, if I lose two in a row— I lost my last fight, I was coming off a serious injury. I had a herniated disc on my C7 [vertebrae]. I’ve just had bad luck, so this was the first time I’ve had a fight where I’ve been injury free. So tonight to me was kind of do-or-die.”
That mindset was not a sudden, spur of the moment urge, or any momentary frustration it seems. Rather, it was with him the entire time he was preparing for Trizano.
“It was the whole camp,” Dawodu admitted. “My last fight, they were telling me to get surgery, they said I needed the same surgery Aljamain Sterling got, the same one Tristan Connelly got, and I was really scared of the surgery.” Dawodu, in search of a second opinion, headed back to his native Canada, and discussed the injury with his physiotherapist. “He said we could naturally rehab the herniated disc just through therapy and doing physio. I did that, I went the whole camp with no injury, and tonight I needed to just make sure I performed and got that W, because if I didn’t perform tonight, I felt like I was done.”
Despite getting the win, and staving off a potential retirement, the 30-year old was not entirely thrilled with the showing he had Saturday.
“I’m not really happy with my performance, but I’m happy I’m back in the win column,” he stated, after going the full 15 minutes with Trizano. “I’m happy I got my confidence back, I’m happy that I got a win, especially it being black history month, that’s a very important month, I do a lot of events and charities usually, well prior to COVID. Tonight was very important for me, I wanted also to make sure I represented the Canadian side as well.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 47 post-fight press scrum with Hakeem Dawodu above. More coverage from the event can be found below.