Boston, MA — Making history on Saturday night at UFC 292 in Boston was Canadian bantamweight Brad Katona, who became the first fighter to win The Ultimate Fighter twice.
Katona (13-2), who won TUF 27 in 2018 as a featherweight, defeated Cody Gibson to claim the TUF 31 135lb crown at the TD Garden — a fight UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan suggested was reminiscent of Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar.
“That’s almost emotional,” Katona responded when informed of Rogan’s words, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press backstage at the TD Garden. “I remember watching the first season of The Ultimate Fighter when I was 14 years old, just getting started in the sport. To be making history and winning it for the second time, that comparison being made by someone like Joe Rogan, man, that’s special. That’s awfully cool.”
Another big star had some supportive words for Brad Katona: his TUF 31 coach and SBG Ireland teammate Conor McGregor.
“Well done Brad Katona, your commitment and consistency is inspiring and motivating to us all at SBG! Think we are done? Think again,” McGregor wrote in one tweet. In another, “And just like that, Team McGregor and SBG Ireland wins the Ultimate Fighter! Excellent performance Brad Katona, now the Champ Champ of The Ultimate Fighter!”
In response, Kartona noted “it’s cool. You can’t help put a smile on your face. I’ve been seeing Conor at the gym lately, it seems he has a big fight coming up. And it’s exciting times for SBG. Don’t doubt us. We never went anywhere.”
Of course, that big fight will likely come against rival TUF 31 coach Michael Chandler. But for now, SBG Ireland can celebrate — his coaches even suggested Katona “soak this in.” But asked what winning The Ultimate Fighter a second time meant to him, the 31-year old replied “everything and nothing.”
“This isn’t the end goal. Winning it twice, it’s another step along the way,” Katona explained. “Obviously I’m going to be very proud of this, soak it in. But after that, this isn’t the end goal, this is not what I want to just hang my hat on. It’s going to be a very nice accolade that I can look back at the end of my career and be like ‘man that is pretty cool’ I’ll probably be the only person to ever do it, quite frankly. I can’t foresee it happening again. This isn’t the end of the road, though. I’m eyeing that bantamweight title, and that’s what we’re working towards. That’s what we’re living every day.”
Watch the full UFC 292 post-fight press conference with Brad Katona above.