Steven Nguyen Admits He Was in “Dark, Dark Space” After Coming Up Short Twice on DWCS


Las Vegas, NV — Featherweight Steven Nguyen (9-1) has unquestionably taken the long road to the UFC, making three appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series culminating with Tuesday’s TKO win over A.J. Cunningham.

Now, he has a UFC contract at long last.

“The contract aspect, it’s been a very long road for me. I think it’s been four years since my first Contender Series fight? I just had to keep going. That was the main thing,” Nguyen told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight on Tuesday. “I knew there was a lot of pressure coming into this fight. I had to finish this fight, it was my third time around. So I went in there with that mindset, kill or be killed.”

The fight that played out was wild, with a near finish at the end of the first round. The game plan wasn’t necessarily to brawl, but rather stick and move, Nguyen admitted. “I don’t know what it was, I just said ‘I’m going to bite down on my mouthpiece right now and I’m going to throw, and we’re going to see who stands and who falls.'”

Ultimately, it was A.J. Cunningham who fell, with Fortis MMA’s Nguyen finally securing the contract. He admits that, after being denied twice on DWCS, once off a win, “I was in a dark, dark space for a little bit. I didn’t really know where to go at that point. But I have the best coach, I have the best manager, Jason House, coach Sayif [Saud]. My family, my girlfriend, everybody that has supported me just told me, ‘just keep going.’ Because of them, I’m where we’re at now, and here I am talking to you.”

Nguyen took a different approach to his third Contender Series fight, going so far as to decline all interviews ahead of the bout. “I knew I just had to dig deep down, not, on top of just having a tough opponent, but just for myself knowing that this is possibly going to be my last chance of possibly going to the UFC, because it’s my third time,” he added. “So I just had to dig deep in there tonight.”

Watch the full DWCS 62 post-fight press scrum with Steven Nguyen above.


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