Arnold Allen (17-1) is currently one of the brightest prospects of the United Kingdom, riding a ten-fight win streak, eight of them in the UFC. I had the pleasure to sit down with the number six ranked UFC featherweight Arnold Allen to discuss his hand injury, previous fights and plan for a UFC return in 2022 in an exciting featherweight division.
Interview with Arnold Allen
Thank you for taking the time out Arnold, first of all, how are you? How is your hand?
Arnold Allen – “The hand is good. It’s healing well. The doctors have said it should be 100 percent by Christmas. To be fair, I feel like it’s 100 percent now, but I’ll wait for doctor’s orders.”
Did you end up having surgery on your hand, or has it just been rehab?
Arnold Allen – “I didn’t have surgery. There were some issues initially with doctors saying it wasn’t broken. I was training and kept hurting it. Then I ended up seeing another doctor who said there were three breaks and some ligament issues! On the doctor’s advice, I didn’t have the surgery. He said it was very intricate and felt it was best to rest it and let it heal by itself, which is why it’s taken even longer.”
Your last fight was a standout performance against another highly touted prospect in Sodiq Yusuff. Did anything surprise you about Yusuff, and is it more satisfying for you to beat a fellow up and comer rather than an older gatekeeper-type opponent?
Arnold Allen – “Definitely more satisfying to beat another prospect. A lot of people are hyped up on Yusuff and saying he’s the next big thing. It felt good to prove those people wrong. There wasn’t anything surprising really, the only thing I could think of was how tough he was. I dropped him twice, and he still stayed in there, so that was quite surprising.”
Do you watch a lot of tape before a fight, or do you leave that to your coaches?
Arnold Allen – “I watch a bit of tape but mainly leave it to coaches. If I sit down with Firas and watch something, I’ll maybe pick out one thing, and he’ll find ten, so I tend to let him do most of it and then just listen to what he tells me!”
With your hand hopefully 100 percent around Christmas time, what kind of timeline do you see for a UFC return?
Arnold Allen – “Well, there is a card on my birthday, January 22nd next year, that would be nice. There are also rumours of a London card in March, so either of those would be ideal. I actually wanted to be a lot more active in 2021, that is what I said to myself, but obviously, this hand injury hasn’t helped. I’m hoping to have more fights next year and stay active.”
You’re now sitting firmly inside the top 10 of the UFC featherweight rankings. The division is buzzing right now. Do you have your eye on anyone in particular for your next fight?
Arnold Allen – “I’m definitely looking at a top 5 opponent. The UFC has me ranked six at the minute, but I’m sure that will change shortly as Giga Chikadze and Calvin Kattar are fighting soon, and Dan Ige vs. Josh Emmett is in December. The only person ranked above me available is “The Korean Zombie” I’ve said before I’d love that fight, and I think it could be a fight night main event for sure.”
I saw you were tweeting along with UFC Vegas 42 this past weekend. Give me your thoughts on the main event?
Arnold Allen – “It was a great fight, I think a lot of people counted Yair out, but he did really well and was landing loads of calf kicks. Holloway looked like he always does. He gets hit a lot but never seems bothered! He took a load of those calf kicks and didn’t seem affected.”
Finally, UK MMA is fascinating at the minute, and it feels as though we’re having a surge of exciting UK fighters in the UFC with Darren Till, Tom Aspinall, Leon Edwards, Paddy Pimblett, to name a few. Do you think the UFC will take advantage and stick you all on the same card, maybe in London?
Arnold Allen – “Hopefully, I think we have a lot of UK title hopes for the future at the minute. Aspinall looks so good and seems to be going about it the right way, taking his time and wants to fight his way up to the top, and he already has a win over Arlovski!”
Follow me on Twitter at @JMacMMA24 to see my latest work. Follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to stay up to date with all things MMA.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images