UFC Paris: Joaquin Buckley Credits Head Kick KO Loss for Current Success

Paris, France — The middleweight fight between Joaquin Buckley and Nassourdine Imavov was picked as one to watch at UFC Paris as soon as it was announced.

Rather confusingly for some, however, the bout landed on the preliminary card. That’s a fact Imavov expressed some disappointment over during Thursday’s UFC Paris media day — but to Buckley (15-4), it doesn’t matter at the end of the day.

“My thing is, I’m not disappointed, because I’m in a place where I get to enjoy myself. So once the fight is over with, I get to just sit back and relax,” he told Cageside Press and other media outlets in attendance. “But for Nassourdine, I don’t know if he feels any kind of way. I feel like he would more than I would. I’m not ranked, you know what I mean? So me fighting on the prelims ain’t going to do nothing for me.”

Imavov, however, is ranked. He sits at #12 in the division, per the UFC’s official rankings. “Him being ranked, him being so-called ‘from here,’ you’d think that he would have a problem. But in my opinion, this is going to be one of the most exciting prelim fights ever, and most-watched prelims for the main event. I feel like the numbers is going to go up like crazy once we get out there.”

Buckley has won three straight, all finishes, with two earning him Performance of the Night bonuses. Imavov also has two straight stoppage wins. And that’s what Buckley sees in this fight: “A finish. Somebody’s getting a finish. My thing is having skill, having experience, and just having a will. Who’s will is going to be stronger. And who’s going to break first is the person that’s going to fall.”

“Newmansa” broke onto the radar for many fight fans with his Knockout of the Year against Impa Kasanganay in October 2020. But it’s a KO loss he suffered that Buckley credits for his more recent success.

“The layoff that I got against Alessio [Di Chirico],” Buckley replied when asked about the key to his current run. The Italian caught Buckley with a head kick in January 2021; he was out roughly nine months afterwards. “I’ve still been one of the most active fighters since being signed in 2020 with eight fights, 5-2, majority knockouts, four knockouts here in the UFC. But that layoff that Alessio gave me was good because I had to get my schedule together.”

At the time, Buckley had been a part-time fighter. “Because I wasn’t training full time, and I was still trying to figure things out with my coaches and gym, and taking care of my grandmother, having a baby, stuff like that. Once I got the schedule together and I got my solid foundation back home, everybody was working together to allow me to be able to leave to Michigan to go train — yeah, I’m a problem now.”

Watch the full UFC Paris media day appearance by Joaquin Buckley above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 3, 2022 at the Accor Arena in Paris, France.