Dan Ige makes his return to the Octagon at UFC on Fox 31, facing Jordan Griffin in a featherweight division attraction.
A lot of fighters have inspirational figures that have influenced their lives and for Ige, its the UFC Lightweight Champion in Khabib Nurmagomedov that provides that inspiration.
“Its huge man, Khabib’s someone I look up to a lot. I’ve done a lot of training with him, I seen him go through the downfall when no one supported him. He went through how many ACL surgeries…knee surgeries…he hurt his back, he was out for a long time. He won a lot of fights and he was put on the sidelines, so it was just cool to watch someone like that go through adversity and finally come to the top and win the title. Then defend the title against someone like Conor McGregor in one of the biggest fights in UFC history, just to be there and be a part of it was huge. It was definitely stressful, but I made it through it just to see my friend get the title and now look at him. He’s meeting Sheikh’s, he’s meeting kings around the world…traveling to different countries. He is in Nigeria helping build wells for the poor and build hospitals and build medical centers, just giving back and he;s a huge role model…someone I look up to. Its awesome to see, not only someone becoming a champion, but giving back. That’s the big thing for me, its just something I’ve always wanted to do is just give back to the people that have helped me or give back to the people who aren’t as privileged as I am. Its definitely motivating and I know I’ll get there,” says Ige in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.
If there is one thing Ige is expecting at UFC On Fox 31, its that he doesn’t know what to expect.
“I always expect a three round war, I never go in there and say I’m gonna knock this guy out in the first round. (Against) Santiago, I was expecting a hard three round war, but I finished it in fifty seconds. I’m expecting the same, Jordan Griffin’s a pretty well round tough southpaw…lanky…long. He uses his range well, he’s got tricky submissions. He’s an opportunist, so I have to protect myself at all times like they say and keep my chin tucked. I’m gonna put my hands on him, use my wrestling…use my everything. You’ll see everything in this fight,” says Ige.
UFC On Fox 31 takes place on Saturday, December 15 from the Wisconsin Entertainment & Sports Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Al Iaquinta and Kevin Lee headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Fox.