UFC fighter Nate Maness (14-2) is scheduled to fight flyweight prospect Tagir Ulanbekov (13-2) at UFC Fight Night on November 5th.
This will be the first time Maness has fought since taking Umar Nurmagomedov to a decision in June. The bout will be Maness’ first fight in the flyweight division and will be the 3rd weight class he has fought at in his soon-to-be-five-fight UFC career.
Maness became a professional back in 2013, at just 22 years of age, and built up his record to an exceptional record of 10-0 before taking his first loss in TKO. Maness later made his UFC debut with a record of 11-1 in August 2020 and took a decision win in a featherweight bout over undefeated fighter Johnny Munoz Jr. (10-0). After his debut, “Mayhem” dropped down to bantamweight and faced Luke Sanders and Tony Gravely, where he finished both opponents in the 2nd round.
His concluding fight at bantamweight came against undefeated, highly touted prospect Umar Nurmagomedov, cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov. Maness was a sizable underdog before the fight, and many expected Nurmagomedov to stroll to victory, but this was not the case. Maness put in an impressive performance, and although he took the loss, Nate became the first of Nurmagomedov’s opponents to take him to a decision.
Tagir Ulanbekov is one of the most promising flyweights in the world, sporting a record of 13-2. The Dagestani fighter joined the organization with a record of 10-1 in 2020 after dominating the European scene for many years, dating back to 2013. Ulanbekov then started his UFC career off with a bang, gathering back-to-back decision victories over Brazilians Bruno Silva and Allan Nascimento. Tagir could not extend his excellent run of form, suffering his first loss in the company to Tim Elliot at UFC 272, which was his most recent fight. Ulanbekov will be looking to bounce back and regain his momentum this upcoming November.
I had the pleasure of asking Nate Maness about the upcoming fight just hours after the announcement.
Interview With Nate Maness
This will be the 3rd weight class you have fought in during your five-fight UFC run. What made you come to the decision to drop down to flyweight?
“I’ve just been walking around lighter, better nutrition, more discipline, etc. I was the smallest I had ever been in the cage last night. So it just made sense to make this change.”
You are fighting Tagir Ulanbekov, who is seen as a rising star in the division. What qualities do you have that will give you the edge in this fight?
“Outside of my physical attributes at this weight class, I think my toughness can hang with anyone. I have power, and he’s definitely hittable. I think we can have a fun fight for the fans.”
How do you predict the fight to go down?
I think it’ll be a good back-and-forth fight-of-the-night type. But I’m always looking for the knockout. Either way, my hand will be raised at the end.”
Nate Maness Discusses Last Fight
In your last fight, you took Umar Nurmagomedov to a decision, in a fight where you were a +450 underdog, how does being labelled an underdog make you feel?
“At the end of the day, it’s just us fighters locked in there. You see underdogs win every week. It doesn’t really impact my training or performance.”
How would you describe your fight style to someone who’s never watched you fight before?
“I would describe it as gritty, can end the fight at any second, mentally strong. I’m willing to take two to give one, and I always hope to put on a good show.”
What is your favourite discipline of MMA? and why?
“It’s changed throughout my career. I love a nice blast double, but it’s hard to beat the feeling of a big knockout for the fans. So I would have to say striking at the moment.”
What are your long-term goals within the sport? Is flyweight the division you want to establish yourself in going forward?
Yes, it is. I’m getting a top 15 guy right out the gate. I think that shows the organization’s belief in me. After this win, I’m looking to the top 10 and a contender/title fight by the end of next year.”
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images