UFC Austin: Calvin Kattar Wants to Earn His Opportunities

Heading into UFC Austin, featherweight headliner Calvin Kattar says he’s “always prepared for the banger.”

As much as a quick finish against Josh Emmett this Saturday would be nice, “I think it’s what you gotta do as a fighter at this caliber— be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. I’ll be ready to go either way.”

After a year off following his loss to Max Holloway in January 2021, Kattar (23-5) returned to action at the start of this year, brutalizing Giga Chikadze in a five-round unanimous decision. Now it’s on to the hard-hitting Emmett, who Kattar this week called a “tough opponent” who “brings power.”

Kattar believes that combination along with his own attributes will make for a great fight. One that either ends early, with one fighter making it look easy, or goes the distance in a five-round banger. “I’m prepared for both options,” reiterated Kattar during UFC Austin’s media day.

Those five-round wars tend to be something Kattar has found himself in rather often, mind you. “My style, sometimes I just get in there and find myself fighting that style of fight. And I don’t shy away from a challenge like that, as you see; you look at the list of guys I’ve competed against, we haven’t turned down a fight yet,” Kattar explained. “That’s not really something that when I got to the UFC, I planned on doing. You come to the UFC to fight the best guys in the world and earn your opportunities, and I think we’ve both done a good job of earning this main event Saturday night, and may the best man win.”

Earning opportunities is key for Kattar, and that’s why he’s not surprised at seeing Max Holloway land a third fight against Alexander Volkanovski.

“I’m excited for that fight. I like both guys, watching both guys fight, and I’ve got a lot of respect for both. They want guys that earn opportunities and compete. After that fight with Max, I felt like he might have been next up in line for a title fight anyway, and he still chose to stay busy, fight Yair [Rodriguez], so props to him,” Kattar stated. “And then Alex fighting him a third time just to put an end to that chapter, you gotta respect that. He’s a busy fighter, I think he resembles what a champion should act like at that point, not just picking and choosing but wanting the best fights. I think we’re all in for a good one in July.”

The approach Volkanovski, the reigning featherweight champ, has shown when it comes to fighting the best guys is one Kattar himself plans to take should he reach the top of the mountain some day.

“I would have that same mindset, where I would want to fight the guys that are earning their opportunities, not the ones that are kind of waiting for guys to fight, and see how it settles, and picking the ones they want to fight and never fighting down. I don’t know, people get too cute with it. I think [Volkanovski] just wants like I said, guys that are earning their next opportunity— and that’s the way I want to get my opportunities, is by earning them and staying busy, competing, and taking on the best guys to get there.”

Watch the full UFC Austin media day appearance by Calvin Kattar above. The event takes place this Saturday, June 18 at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.