Paris, France — Now calling the featherweight division home, England’s Nathaniel Wood returns for the second time in 2022 at UFC Paris.
In essence, it’s a short turnaround fight for Wood (18-5), who fought for the first time in nearly two years as part of July’s UFC London card. Now, he’s made the short trip to Paris to take on Canadian Charles Jourdain, and sees a win over “Air” Jourdain as a chance to break into the 145lb rankings.
“If there’s ever a time to start taking it up a notch and chasing that belt, it’s now,” Wood told media outlets including Cageside Press during Thursday’s UFC Paris media day. “Charles Jourdain I think is one of the best strikers in the division, so I think a good win over him puts me in those top 15 rankings, and if it doesn’t, then I’ll just keep knocking out whoever I’ve got to, and eventually get a shot.”
Ahead of the bout, Wood has said publicly that he’s feeling the best physically that he ever has heading into a fight. He elaborated on that comment for Cageside Press on Thursday.
This might be the best I’ve ever been physically walking into this fight. 👊🏼 2 more days.
— Nathaniel Wood (@TheProspectMMA) September 1, 2022
“I haven’t done anything different, but obviously I’ve not come away. After the Charles Rosa fight [in July], we just stayed in the gym,” Wood explained. “I’m fitter, the numbers don’t lie. I’m hitting better numbers on my cardio, I’m faster, I’m more powerful, and I’m feeling good. I’m feeling strong, I’m feeling healthy. I’ve got a little bit of a weight cut to do tonight, but yeah, at the moment I’m feeling like the best Nathaniel Wood that could possibly be going into that fight Saturday night.”
The quick turnaround was something that was important to Wood as well, after missing so much time. It’s something he can do as a featherweight that just wasn’t possible cutting to 135lbs.
“For me it’s everything. A lot of people ask us ‘are you’re nervous to fight?’ If I’m honest, no. This is what I do for a living. I’ve been in this game 14 years now. This is what I enjoy to do. The bit that I don’t enjoy is the weight cuts, and sometimes the grueling training sessions,” stated Wood. “But now I haven’t got to worry so much about the weight, and that makes the training sessions easier. Straight after that fight [against Rosa], I was on the treadmill. Why go away and put weight on and get fat? I might as well stay in shape and just do it again. Get paid again. And get to come to Paris. I’ve never been here before, so it’s a great experience. If I’m honest, I’m living the dream, so regardless I think it’s a win-win for me.”
Watch the full UFC Paris media day appearance by Nathaniel Wood above. The event takes place this Saturday, September 3, 2022 at the Accor Arena in Paris, France.