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At UFC Fight Night 187, Dan Ige
demonstrated in emphatic fashion that he possesses staying power in
the promotion’s featherweight division.

One bout removed from a five-round decision loss to Calvin
Kattar
and booked against a dangerous short-notice opponent in
Gavin
Tucker
, Ige authored the sixth-fastest knockout in the history
of the division. The former Dana White’s Contender Series
competitor needed just one punch to do the job, as he blasted
Tucker with a right hand 22 seconds into their featured encounter
at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The finish ended
Tucker’s three-bout winning streak.

“I was expecting a war, Gavin is a tough kid,” Ige said. “I’m
pretty sure the line on this fight was pretty even and could’ve
just as easily been me there on the canvas, but we trained hard, I
saw everything in there and landed the first shot. The rest is
history.”

According to Ige, the key to his success was attention to detail
during his camp at Xtreme Couture. The only downside to such a
short night at the office was that he didn’t get to demonstrate all
the fruits of that labor.

“It was just repetitions. Showing up every single day in the gym
and having the goal to improve on something. Whether that was
improving my technique on my striking, my boxing, my jab… Whether
it was working on little details in my wrestling, my grappling, my
get ups or my cage control,” he said. “It was just focusing on the
small, finer details, winning the small battles in practice.

“If you look back at some of the fights that I lost in the past, it
wasn’t that I got blown out of the water. It was just little things
like I gave up rounds, so we stopped giving up rounds, stopped
giving up rounds in practice, stopped playing around on my back
where I’m losing. Just little things like that. I would have loved
to have shown off all that tonight, but, like I said, I can’t argue
with a clean KO.”

Ige has won seven of his last eight within the Las Vegas-based
promotion, and he feels like it’s a fresh start following the
disappointment of the headlining defeat to Kattar. There may be a
little break as Ige enjoys becoming a father, but he plans on
maintaining his momentum.

“I just want to keep the ball rolling,” he said. “Obviously, I have
a kid on the way, but that doesn’t take away from my game, that’s
only going to improve me as a fighter. It’s going to improve me as
a human being and I’m just going to keep striving towards the gold.
That’s the overall goal. I got into this sport to be a champion; I
fell short my first run, but here we are, I’m starting my second
run, so let’s do it.”

With that in mind, Ige is well aware of the dangers of a quick
knockout victory. All too often, fighters fall in love with that
power, and it can affect their performance in future outings.

“It’s kind of scary. It just means I have to go back to the gym and
work harder,” Ige said. “A wise man once told me someone gets a
clean first round KO like that, their next fight they look like
garbage because they just think they can knock everyone out.

“For me, that tells me I have to go back and work even harder
because what got me that KO was hard work, was repetition, was
showing up every single day when I didn’t want to show up … That’s
the recipe to success. I really believe in that and I will continue
to do so.”


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