UFC 274: C.J. Vergara Says “Gladiatorial Performance in Itself” Is Why He’s in MMA

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Phoenix, AZ — After fifteen minutes at UFC 274 against a tough opponent in Kleydson Rodrigues, flyweight C.J. Vergara felt he had lost the fight.

“I’m such a self-critical fighter. I expect so much from myself that if it’s not a dominant performance, I automatically look at myself and my coaches and think that I lost,” Vergara (10-3-1) told media outlets following the fight, backstage at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. “So as soon as the fight was over, I looked at my coaches and said ‘I lost that fight. That’s not the potential I should be living up to.'”

After some reflection, Vergara now believes that his shots were the more damaging, and his dominant positions the more dominant ones. The judges agreed, two of them anyway, leaving C.J. Vergara with a split decision victory — his first win in the UFC.

“Initially, as soon as the fight was over, I thought I lost, but that’s because of the expectation I put on myself,” said Vergara. “I assumed the worst and hoped for the best.”

The crowd was certainly appreciative of the effort, and that matters to the Contender Series alum.

“The gladiatorial performance in itself is what I’m in the sport for. If nothing else, I’m going to bring exciting fights. I’m never going to be involved in a fight that doesn’t bring people to their feet. I pride myself on that, I’m a gladiator inside of that cage first.”

Asked about the odds heading into Saturday’s fight against Rodrigues, that had the Brazilian the favorite, Vergara expressed some surprise.

“I don’t know where they get the odds from,” he exclaimed. “Look man, and this is no disrespect to Kleydson, none at all: he won his Contender Series fight against a guy that was 5-0. He drug him out to a decision, couldn’t finish him. My Contender Series fight was a 41-second KO.”

“My last loss was to Ode Osborne, a fight which was back-and-forth, I dominated the third round,” he continued. “So if we just look at numbers and we look at records— I mean, they can keep giving me the underdog position, I’ve got a bunch of degenerate gambling friends that are going to make a bunch of money off it, and we’re going to keep running this bag up as long as they continue to put me in the underdog position. So keep putting me in that spot and we’ll just keep getting richer.”

Watch the full UFC 274 post-fight press conference appearance by C.J. Vergara above. More coverage from the event can be found below.

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