At UFC Vegas 81 on Saturday night, number 11-ranked featherweight Sodiq Yusuff will headline for the first time during his UFC tenure, as he takes on Edson Barboza.
It will mark almost a year to the day since Yusuff (13-2) last competed, with his last fight being October 1, 2022, where he defeated Don Shainis in the first round of their fight. Yusuff explained the reason for the long layoff whilst speaking at the UFC Vegas 81 media day.
“Right after my last fight, maybe like a week or two after, I herniated two discs in my spine so it was a little rough getting back in there. They initially gave me six months recovery time but that usually takes longer than expected and that was the case.”
“Super” Sodiq spoke about the feeling ahead of his first UFC main event whilst having been with the promotion for five years.
“It feels natural, when I first got here it was a little bit surreal but the closer and closer it got it’s kind of felt, okay this is the destined path. I feel like I’ve spent enough time here and I’ve gotten enough eyeballs on me to where the company feels like I deserve it and when Saturday comes I’ve got to go out there and put on a show so they give me another one.”
The 30-year-old explained that the reason he wanted a fight with Barboza is because he is an ‘OG’ and wanted to fight him before Edson retires. After his last fight, Yusuff called out “The Korean Zombie” as he put him in the same light as Edson.
Yusuff also hinted at another ‘OG’ he’d like to share the Octagon with, if things go his way on Saturday.
“The thing specifically with Edson is that one of the few OG’s left in the weight class. That’s why I called out Korean Zombie in my last fight too, they were people I’d watch as a kid, they were people I watched when I was coming up, like, I’d like to get that guy before they leave.
I think Edson might be the last one. Max Holloway is a young OG so that’d be a cool one too.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 81 media day appearance from Sodiq Yusuff above.