Las Vegas, NV — Despite being snubbed on Dana White’s Contender Series just weeks ago — she won her fight, but was not awarded a UFC contract — Josefine Knutsson was the first fighter from the 2023 season to actually fight in the UFC.
That came at Noche UFC on Saturday, with Knutsson stepping up on short notice, originally against Iasmin Lucindo — who herself fell out of the fight, replaced by another newcomer in Marnic Mann.
The result was a dominant showing from Sweden’s Knutsson against a tough LFA veteran. Tough being perhaps the key word.
“I’ve got to give her, that’s she’s tough, but also I knew it got to her a little bit,” Knutsson (7-0) said following the fight, asked about Mann’s reaction to the damage she was scoring. “But she also tried to mentally show me that it didn’t hurt, but I could feel that my techniques touched her. I’ve got to give it to her, that she was tough to take it and at least continue.”
Knutsson does believe she could have finished the fight at some point, saying that “Yes, I do think so. Like my last fight three weeks ago on the Contender [Series].” Finishes are something she is always in search of, she added. “I always put that pressure on myself to have the finish, because I know I can do it. And my team also believes in me. But I’m just going to let it come more naturally.”
“I know this is only the beginning, and this is my first fight. It’s only going to get better,” she added.
With UFC fight number one under her belt, it’s full steam ahead for Josefine Knutsson, a decorated kickboxer with a 25-7 record prior to transitioning to MMA.
“I’m a fighter. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so I’m just going to stay ready for whatever opportunity shows up for me. I’m not going to turn down— I want to have fights. More fights. Of course I have to be realistic, but I feel like my body, everything, my mindset is perfect. I just want to have more fights.”
Asked how the feeling of making her debut compared to what she had envisioned ahead of the experience, Knutsson told Cageside Press that “it’s even more. I love this feeling. Like yesterday after weigh-in, I just wanted to take everything in and enjoy the moment. I want to show the world that I’m going to be 100% me. That feeling, I had walking into the fight tonight also.”
Interestingly enough, her opponent, Mann, walked out to a track by late Swedish star Avicii on Saturday. Knutsson hadn’t given much thought as to whether that selection was Mann trying to play mind games with her.
“I didn’t think about it, to be honest. Because I was just so much into my own game,” admitted Knutsson. “Now when you say it, it was Avicii, but I would never care.”
Watch the full Noche UFC post-fight press conference with Josefine Knutsson above.