Toronto, ON — His Canadian debut has been a long time coming for featherweight Charles Jourdain, who will finally compete on home turf at UFC 297 this January in Toronto.
With John Makdessi gone from the company, Quebec’s Jourdain (15-6-1) has more UFC fights that any other Canadian athlete on the active roster. Yet he’s never fought at home in Canada, in large part thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Perhaps it’s something of a silver lining that when he finally makes his debut in Canada on January 20, the former TKO star will do so as a battle-tested veteran.
“Yeah, I was there when the crowd fell on Mike, seen Marc-Andre beat [Eryk] Anders,” Jourdain told Cageside Press during the UFC 297 kick-off press conference on Tuesday, referring to fellow Canadians Mike Malott and Marc-Andre Barriault’s experience at UFC 289. “I was there, I was like, ‘I wish on was on those cards,’ but it’s okay. Life works in mysterious ways, and I get to have a very nice striking match against Woodson in Toronto. [He’s] a great striker.”
Woodson would be Sean Woodson, who actually joined the UFC in 2019, the same year as Charles Jourdain himself — though the American has been considerably less active. And carries a lesser profile as a result.
“People are like ‘oh we don’t know him much,” but he’s a very, very dangerous man. We think in UFC, you need to tell yourself ‘there’s no easy fight,'” noted Jourdain. “People say ‘even though you don’t know him yet, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t pose a threat.’ If I don’t take it seriously, it could be the worst night of my life.”
Then there’s the pressure the crowd brings, something that as a 12-fight UFC veteran, Jourdain is clearly cognizant of.
“I need to be very aware of the fact that people want blood, they’re going to be pushing us to do a show. If we overdo it, we can make a mistake and it’s not a good night. So Toronto will be crazy but we need to stay stoic and in control of our emotion in order to deliver the best performance we can.”
Watch the full UFC 297 kick off press conference with Charles Jourdain, Mike Malott, Marc-Andre Barriault, and Serhiy Sidey above.