On January 25th, 25-year-old British prospect Arnold Allen will look to make it 7-0 within the UFC as he faces off with Nik Lentz in Raleigh, North Carolina. The bout was originally scheduled to be Allen (Ranked #15) vs Josh Emmet (Ranked #10). However, just less than three weeks out Emmet pulled out of the contest for an undisclosed reason. On Wednesday, January 15th (just 10 days out), it was agreed that seasoned veteran Nik Lentz would be stepping in to take the fight.
Allen has looked sensational so far throughout his career, going 15-1 in MMA professionally. He is coming off a big win at UFC 239 against a legend of the sport in Gilbert Melendez. The fight with Emmet would have been the big opportunity to break into the top 10 and it was a chance that Allen had earned, going 6-0 within the UFC. It’s hard not to sympathise for him that he’s been robbed of the opportunity for reasons completely out of his control. However, Nik Lentz is a great opponent for Arnold to once again showcase his skills on and if he gets through him in great fashion, I have no doubt the UFC will book him against a higher-ranked opponent again.
Arnold Allen spoke with me about the situation of this upcoming bout, what it means to him to represent the UK within the MMA world, and his plans in the cage for 2020.
Question: What was your reaction emotionally to Josh Emmet pulling out of the fight that far into camp, and then what was your reaction to getting the call that Nik Lentz wants to step in?
Arnold’s answer: “I was just annoyed, but for some reason, I had a feeling the whole camp he’d get hurt or something. I was happy when I found out Lentz’s opponent was out too, as he’s another tough veteran with a solid resumè, which is much more exciting than some unknown guy last minute.”
Q: We’re not long out from the fight now, how do you prepare yourself mentally through fight week as the fight gets closer?
A: “At this point, the majority of the graft is done and I’m always happy with the work I’ve put in. With a good camp behind you, fight week is fun and I just get more excited as the week goes by.”
Q: What does it mean to you to carry the UK MMA scene forward along with the wave of UK talent in the UFC right now?
A: “It’s great being part of the next generation from the UK. We have a great history of high-level fighters and I think the future is bright for UK MMA.”
Q: What do you make of Nik Lentz’ skill set and how do you think it matches up with yours, for example, have you and your team saw any holes that you’ll be able to capitalise on using a specific tool?
A: “He has a wealth of experience and had fought at a high level for a long time. I think it matches up well with my style but nothing specifically.”
Q: After your upcoming fight, how active are you looking to stay in 2019, providing you come out of the fight healthy, are you looking to have a very quick turnaround and get on the London card if possible? Also, are you going to be looking purely for ranked fights from now on, which you were robbed of on this card?
A: “I’d love to have at least 3 fights in 2020, not really interested in a quick turnaround, ideally fight the start, middle and end of the year, Yeah that would be ideal I’d like to break into that top 10.”
I’d be like to thank Arnold for taking the time to do this interview and I wish him all the best in his upcoming bout.
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