UFC London: Nikita Krylov Says Opponent Rejecting Fight Led to Bigger Match-up with Gustafsson

London, England — After coming up short at March’s UFC London event, light heavyweight Nikita Krylov gets a second chance this Saturday, as he faces Alexander Gustafsson when the UFC returns to the O2 Arena.

Speaking at Wednesday’s media day promoting the event, Krylov (27-9) recalled that “after my last fight [with Paul Craig], I wanted [to] try to fight very fast, because I had good conditioning before my last fight, but not a good fight. When I come back home, I [said to] my manager, ‘give me a fight very quickly.'”

Matchmaker Mick Maynard offered him Dustin Jacoby, but according to Krylov, Jacoby turned the fight down. One week later, he was offered Gustafsson. “I said, ‘this is a great fight for me. I want to fight for him.'” Krylov added that he never stopped training, and started his camp for Gustafsson soon after, heading to the mountains to do so. “Now, I think I’m really in great condition, and I want to show you my best fight on Saturday.”

“The Miner” knows just what a win over the former two-time UFC title challenger could do for his own standing in the sport.

“It’s a really big name for my career. When I only started training 10 years ago, he fought with Jon Jones,” Krylov noted. “He had a really great fight; now I think it’s the biggest name in my career. His last fight was not good, but I think he [will] come back and want [to put on] a good fight. I’m ready, I want Alex in his best condition. I want to fight with the best Alex.”

Krylov also has the pressure of his own recent loss to motivate him. He’ll enter the fight with Sweden’s Gustafsson on a two-fight skid, having lost three of his last four fights.

“Yeah, sure, it’s not good for me,” Krylov admitted. “I had three fights over three years, I had some trouble with my body. When I fought with Magomed Ankalaev, I had a cyst in my shoulder. All the guys in my camp said, ‘you cannot fight with him.’ But I wanted to go, and after the fight, I had operation, and after [that] rehabilitation. Now I think I have really good conditioning. I’m not thinking about my last fight, my loss. I want to give to you, to all fans a good fight, a good show.”

Watch the full UFC London media day appearance from Nikita Krylov above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 23, 2022 at the O2 Arena in London, England.