Vancouver, Canada — Canadian welterweight Mike Malott says the UFC has continued to push him “outside of my comfort zone” each and every fight.
From his main event slot for his Contender Series episode to his promotional debut against Mickey Gall, Malott (9-1-1) has had a quick rise in his brief UFC career to date. That continues with UFC 289 this weekend, where Malott is on the Pay-Per-View main card against Adam Fugitt.
“It’s continued to happen with all three of my experiences so far with the UFC. And so far I’m 3-0 with three first-round stoppages,” Malott said on Wednesday regarding his steep ascent, speaking at the UFC 289 media day. “So as far as, ‘is it too much?’ it certainly hasn’t been so far, and I’m 100% sure it’s not going to be this week.”
Asked by Cageside Press about the traction his call for a UFC return to Canada got following UFC Vegas 70 back in February (both Malott and teammate Jasmine Jasudavicious took the mic that night, calling for the promotion to head back to Canadian soil), Malott said simply “I’m just happy that we’re back,” admitting that “I had heard that night that they were coming back already.”
Regardless of what got them here, “I’m just excited that we’re back in Canada. It’s been years,” Malott added. “This has been a dram of mine my entire fighter career. Since before I got into fighting professionally, I’ve always wanted to fight in the UFC at home in Canada in front of just wild Canadian fans. Everybody knows how the Canadian fans get at UFC fights. We’re loud, we’re passionate, we really get behind our fighters. I’m really excited to put on a show for these guys.”
For a few weeks, it seemed as if Malott might have been the odd man out, however. His fight was one of the last announced for UFC 289 in Vancouver. And there was a fear that maybe his dream wouldn’t happen, at least this time around.
“There’s always fear, right? I didn’t have a fight booked and I was one of the later guys they put on the card. And I just started seeing the card fill up. Like they had a lot of fights before my fight finally got announced. I was worried I wasn’t going to get on.”
Malott’s manager tried to get let him down easy, and told him not to get his hopes up. Malott’s response was the opposite. “I’m like buddy, I’m getting my hopes up. Until it’s June 9 and everyone’s weighed in and I don’t have an opponent, I’m fighting on June 10. I’ll get my hopes up as high as I want. I’m going to be let down either way, so I might as well get my hopes up and start focusing on that before.”
“I don’t understand people that are like ‘I’m not going to get all excited.’ I’m like ‘Dude I’m going to get excited as hell, if it doesn’t work out then I’ll be upset either way,'” continued Malott. “I’d rather get the fun out of it on the first half. And it worked out. We got that fight, it took a little while but I got a full camp to prepare for this guy.”
A former coach for Team Alpha Male, Malott holds a 100% finish rate in his nine wins as a pro. UFC 289 opponent Adam Fugitt has eight stoppage wins of his own. It seems obvious to say that the fight won’t go the distance — but Malott certainly doesn’t believe three rounds will be necessary.
“Absolutely not. I know I’m winning this fight by stoppage. I’m getting my tenth stoppage win on Saturday night, 100%. I’ll be 3-0 in the UFC with three stoppages, 4-0 with four stoppages if you count Contender Series, and in my career, ten wins with ten stoppages. That is what’s going to happen Saturday night.”
Watch the full UFC 289 media day appearance by Mike Malott above.