While many fans have circled the Phil Rowe vs. Niko Price welterweight fight at UFC Orlando as a potential war — with all the implications, like post-fight bonuses, that come with it — “The Fresh Prince” himself doesn’t see it that way.
“I’m not having a war on Saturday, so I don’t know where you got that from,” Rowe (9-3) told reporters during Wednesday’s UFC Orlando media day. “That’s the last thing on my mind. I’m gonna go out there, use my footwork, be long, be elusive, and get it done.”
Those words may spell disappointment for some fans. But it’s hard to blame Rowe for wanting to take a more methodical approach to this particular fight. He’s riding in on a two-fight win streak, against a tough opponent in Price — though Rowe questions just what “tough” means in the context of a fight.
“There’s no like, secret with his skill set. He’s good, he’s skilled, everyone’s skilled here,” observed Rowe. “He’s tough. I hear that a lot. I don’t know if being tough is a skill set. I think that means you get beat up a lot. That’s what that means. I don’t know if I’m tough; my job is not to be hit. Use my range, use my footwork, use my athleticism, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Rowe is heading into the fight knowing that Niko Price may simply walk forward, being as tough as he’s reputed to be. But Rowe has seen toughness in the gym daily for some time now.
“Exactly. And when you say tough, I’ve trained with Mike Perry for eight years. Arguably he’s the toughest fighter on Earth. Durable. I’m used to guys that are there. For 15 minutes, I’ve got to put hands on him, and I’ll just do that. For me, that’s not a scary skill set, when they say a guy is ‘tough, he’s durable.’ It means he gets his ass whupped a lot. If that’s what we gotta do for 15 minutes, that’s what we gotta do.”
Phil Rowe faces Niko Price at UFC Orlando this Saturday, December 3, 2022. The card airs live on ESPN in the U.S.