Paul Craig is currently undefeated as a professional MMA fighter, and defends that winning streak Tyson Pedro this weekend at UFC 209. Craig, who has also competed once in the UFC, isn’t even a fan of the promotion he’s competing in.
“Not to sound big-headed, but the name (Pedro) meant nothing to me,” Craig told MMA Junkie. “I’m not a big UFC fan. I don’t spend much time watching opponents, but I had the confidence in my coach to accept that fight right off the bat. We had asked to fight in Vegas at UFC 209 because my teammate, Mark Godbeer, had got his fight with Todd Duffee (Duffee was subsequently forced to withdraw from the bout and has been replaced by promotional newcomer Daniel Spitz). We got in touch with the UFC to see if we could get a fight then, but they said the card was full. Then, two days later, they phoned us back and asked if we’d like to fight Tyson Pedro, and although I’d been very vocal about getting a top-10 or top-15 opponent, when you ask the UFC for something and they come back to you, you don’t really turn them down.”
Prior to signing with the UFC in 2016, Craig also competed in the UK-based BAMMA promotion. Even if he wasn’t a professional MMA fighter, Craig would live a happy life being a teacher.
“I could have a nice existence as a teacher, spending time with my family and having all those things people work hard to can get,” Craig said. “But I want to have memories and have experiences. We just went to the Hoover Dam, and getting to do it with my teammate and coach, who are two of my best friends, it’s priceless to me. The bonus money (from the da Silva win) just makes life and training a wee bit easier, and for my family, who suffer the most so I can treat them to some nice things. But if I didn’t get it, it still would have been a great debut for me.”
UFC 209 takes place on Saturday, March 4 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson headlining. Fightful will be providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast as well.