After extending his UFC record to 8-0 with a unanimous decision victory over Sodiq Yusuff at UFC Vegas 23 on Saturday, Arnold Allen is ready for a step up in competition.
Before Saturday night, the 27-year-old Allen hadn’t competed since January 2020. Coming off back-to-back victories over Gilbert Melendez and Nik Lentz, however, Allen picked up right where he left off and has now positioned himself for a big fight at 145 pounds.
“I’d like to push forward,” Allen said following the victory (MMAFighting.com). “I don’t know if this pushes me up because I think I was No. 10. I don’t know if this pushes me up the rankings or what, but yeah, I definitely want to go up. I don’t want to stay, and I don’t want to fight backwards, I want to fight guys above me, you know? The end of 2021, I’d like to be sitting in the top-5.”
Moving forward, Allen will keep a close eye on the upcoming bout between former title challenger Chan Sung Jung and Dan Ige. The pair is set to headline a UFC Fight Night on June 19, and Allen feels as if a bout against the winner could make sense for him next.
“Someone like Korean Zombie, I was always a big fan of him, so accidentally I’ve studied him my whole life,” Allen said. “He’s flat-footed, he doesn’t move great, he doesn’t deal with someone moving around him, and I move very well. But I know he just booked a fight with Dan Ige. So maybe the winner of that fight in the future if they’re above me in the rankings, that’s something that would be cool.”
“The Korean Zombie” is currently ranked No. 5 in the featherweight division and is coming off a loss to Brian Ortega, who will next challenge champion Alexander Volkanovski. Before that loss, however, he had won consecutive fights against Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar.
Ige, meanwhile, is ranked No. 8 at 145 pounds and has won seven of his last eight bouts. Most recently, he scored a knockout victory over Gavin Tucker last month in Las Vegas.
A fight against either Jung or Ige would certainly represent a logical next step up in competition for the rising Arnold Allen, who has established himself as a name to watch in the featherweight division.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.