It won’t be his originally scheduled opponent, as Derek Brunson was forced to pull out of the date, but Jack Hermansson at least has a fight at UFC Orlando this Saturday.
It’s something the Swedish middleweight known as “The Joker” has become used to throughout his UFC run.
“It keeps on happening. I don’t know if it’s the fourth or fifth time in the UFC or something that I get a short-notice replacement,” Hermansson (23-7) noted during this week’s UFC Orlando media day. “Bad luck.”
Knowing that an opponent change can happen at any given moment, Hermansson, ranked #9 in the 185lb division, noted that the approach is to “just focus on what you have,” adding “but of course it’s always in the back of your mind that something can happen. It’s the nature of the sport. It has happened to me before, so I’m not shocked when something like that is happening. It’s part of the game.”
Surface level, there are a few similarities between Brunson and Roman Dolidze, who Hermansson now faces in Orlando this Saturday. But there are key differences as well, perhaps deeper ones.
“Both are southpaws, so that’s good, but I would say they’re quite a bit different actually,” said Hermansson. “Derek’s game is more wrestling-heavy, Roman’s striking is very powerful, and Roman might be tougher from the bottom as well. There’s a few differences.”
Yet despite the dissimilar nature of his would-be opponents, Hermansson didn’t consider pulling out of the fight — though he and his team did try to land someone with a number next to their name.
“We tried to see if anyone in the rankings was available, when there wasn’t, it didn’t really matter.”
Should he get his hand raised on Saturday, Hermansson believes the fight with Brunson still makes sense. “Derek is still there, so maybe that will be a good fight next. We’ll see.”
Jack Hermansson faces Roman Dolidze at UFC Orlando this Saturday, December 3, 2022. The card airs live on ESPN in the U.S.