Heading into his promotional debut at UFC 297, Contender Series alum Serhiy Sidey isn’t feeling the pressure of performing on a big stage at home.
Rather, it seems as if the Canadian bantamweight was born to be under the spotlight.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always, I don’t know why, I’ve always just wanted to be a performer. Like before I even started fighting, man, I used to be like ‘damn bro, I wish I could sing,'” Sidey (10-1) told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview ahead of UFC 297 in Toronto. “Because I’d just be a singer, bro, I’d perform in front of people.”
Short of singing his own walkout track there aren’t likely to be any opportunities for Sidey to serenade the fans this weekend. Which might be for the best— as he put it, “that wasn’t my talent.” Instead, Sidey added, “I found fighting, but I’ve always wanted to be a performer for some reason.”
A house full of rabid Canadian fights fans is something that might actually be a boon for Sidey, 27, who fights out of Burlington, Ontario, just down the Queen Elizabeth Way from Toronto.
“The more crowd there was, the more audience, the more eyes, the better I perform. And I just soak up that energy and I soak up all that and I use it in a positive way. And I really do attribute that to my mindfulness practice that I’ve been following for lots of years now, and all the books I’ve been reading about mental performance. And just understanding how to reframe my thoughts and my emotions, and use them in positive ways.”
That positive energy is something Serhiy Sidey believes he can weaponize. “I think that this energy, it’s gonna go to my left hand, it’s gonna go to my right hand, it’s gonna go to both my shins. And I’m going to be able to use that energy in a very positive way.”
Confidence is key heading into any fight, and Sidey has the advantage of having fought Ramon Taveras before. The bout is an immediate rematch of their Contender Series fight, which Sidey finished with a right hand, only for the stoppage to be questioned as quick.
“I’m always understanding that my opponents are threats and I treat them as world-beaters and I treat them as absolute killers, and I’m not showing up any cockier or anything like that. But I’ve been very successful in my career with rematch fights,” Sidey said of running it back with Taveras. “I’m 2-0 with my rematches, and both rematches I finished faster the second time around. And I just believe [that’s] because I get their timing, I see their skills, I see their speed, I see what they’re gonna bring to the table, and then I make the adjustments and that’s why those fights end quicker the second time around.”
Watch our full interview with UFC 297 bantamweight Serhiy Sidey above.