The UFC returns this Saturday in Dallas as Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes will run it back after Pena upset the former champion last December. Opening the card, welterweights Orion Cosce and Blood Diamond are set to square off in what should be an exciting bout. I had the chance to speak to Cosce ahead of his fight on Saturday night.
UFC 277 Fight Night Preview
Orion “Galaxy” Cosce (7-1 overall, 0-1 in the UFC) will be looking for his first UFC win when he enters the cage on Saturday. After earning a contract on season four of Dana White’s Contenders Series, Cosce has been slowed down by injuries, limiting him to only one fight since the start of 2021. A finisher, Cosce has never seen the judges’ scorecards in eight professional fights and has the credentials to strike with Blood Diamond.
Blood Diamond (3-1 overall, 0-1 in the UFC) is most known for his incredible kickboxing career and training alongside UFC middleweight world champion Israel Adesanya. However, his UFC debut did not go as planned. Blood Diamond was submitted in the first round against Jeremiah Wells back in February. Despite the clear weakness in his ground game, Blood Diamond has a significant edge on the feet and if this fight stays standing, he should have a solid chance of earning his first UFC victory.
Interview with Orion Cosce
Danny Podolsky: Does it add to your excitement getting to open up this card in front of a large crowd in Texas on a PPV card?
Orion Cosce: I’m just excited to be back in the octagon after everything that has happened since getting signed. The fight could be anywhere, but having a crowd always gets me more pumped up.
Podolsky: Was it frustrating for you having almost a year-long layoff since your last fight and are you fully healed up now?
Cosce: It’s always frustrating having to take time off for injuries. I like being active as an athlete, so I’m looking forward to put on a great performance and get more fights before the year’s end.
Podolsky: With all the hype surrounding Blood Diamond given that he trains with Israel Adesanya, do you feel as those the fans are overlooking you heading into this fight?
Cosce: To be honest, I didn’t even realize if there were people looking past me or not. I don’t care what fans think. I fight for myself and I always fight to get the finish.
Podolsky: Having now gotten to see some UFC film on Blood Diamond after he lost to Jeremiah Wells does that change your game plan?
Cosce: The game plan with Blood Diamond will be the same: look for the finish and be smart with the striking. Don’t allow myself to make mistakes and don’t think while I’m fighting. I fight at my best when I’m not thinking.
Podolsky: Considering Blood Diamond’s kickboxing credentials is your plan to take him to the ground, or do you think you will be able to compete with his striking?
Cosce: My game plan is simple: use all of my striking and grappling, mix it up together well, and get the finish wherever it presents itself.
Podolsky: As a team Alpha Male product how much has training at that gym with Urijah Faber helped you?
Cosce: Alpha Male is great, but I got my start with MMA in Humboldt where I was born and raised. A lot of the training I do is everywhere. I try to give myself new looks all the time so I don’t get used to the same routine. I want to always adapt and evolve.
Podolsky: What is your official prediction for this fight?
Cosce: I believe I can get the finish in the first round. This will be an exciting fight to watch, as both Blood Diamond and I will look for the finish. He has more experience with striking, but I have more experience with wrestling, BJJ and MMA overall.