Jacob Kilburn (8-2), the newest addition to the UFC roster, learned of his signing to the world’s most prestigious mixed martial arts promotion, while recording a podcast on Thanksgiving Eve.
David Van Auken, host of Fight Bananas Podcast, had Kilburn on the show to discuss some of the latest things that were going on his journey as a professional MMA fighter. Dean Toole, CEO of Island Fights, was on the call and surprised Kilburn who had just said he was waiting for the UFC’s call. Listen the reaction and interaction between the group around the 2:48 mark in the video above.
“There’s a guy by the name of Billy Quarantillo,” Kilburn said on the show. “He’s fought on the Ultimate Fighter, he’s fought on the Contender Series three times. He got his contract this last season. And he’s scheduled to fight next weekend in Washington D.C. His opponent pulled out. I believe there was an injury but don’t quote me on it,” Kilburn said.
“I just know he’s in need of an opponent. I know the UFC is trying to fill it with somebody who is already on the roster. But I can just tell you it that it is the week of Thanksgiving, it’s like 10 days out, and if you are already an athlete under contract you probably don’t have any reason to take short notice fights when you are guaranteed to get them with a full training camp. So, my name has been thrown into the hat and we are waiting on a phone call to see if somebody has taken it or not,” Kilburn said eagerly awaiting that shot.
That’s when Toole interrupted the show with “RING, RING, RING, RING, RING. This is that phone call.”
Not sure what to make of it, Kilburn said, “no, not it’s not.”
Then Toole said, “Congratulations, you are in the UFC You are fighting December 7 in Washington D.C. against Billy Quarantillo.”
Van Auken went to social media to announce that he had just recorded breaking news on the Fight Bananas Podcast, but did not go much further with the details.
Kilburn competed three times for Island Fights, recording three victories with the Florida based promotion. He also competed on Dana White’s Contender Series but would not come away with a victory while competing in front of UFC boss Dana White.
Unaware of Van Auken’s interview (because it had not yet officially been released), MMA reporter Nolan King of MMA Junkie put out a tweet the night of Wednesday, November 27, stating that Kilburn was the frontrunner to replace Chris Fishgold against Quarantillo at UFC on ESPN 7.
According to multiple sources, Jacob Kilburn (8-2) is the frontrunner to replace Chris Fishgold against Billy Quarantillo at #UFCDC on Dec. 7.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but things are close.
— Nolan King (@mma_kings) November 28, 2019
Later that evening, King confirmed Kilburn’s signing with a report on MMA Junkie. King’s article stated: “Two people with knowledge of the situation informed MMA Junkie of the booking but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an announcement.”
UFC on ESPN 7 takes place Dec. 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. The card airs on ESPN following early prelims on ESPN+.
Video of Kilburn signing his UFC contract:
UFC ON ESPN 7 FIGHT CARD:
MAIN CARD (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET)
Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Marina Rodriguez
Ben Rothwell vs. Stefan Struve
Yana Kunitskaya vs. Aspen Ladd
Cody Stamann vs. Song Yadong
Rob Font vs. Ricky Simon
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET)
Thiago Alves vs. Tim Means
Jacob Kilburn vs. Billy Quarantillo
Bryce Mitchell vs. Matt Sayles
Joe Solecki vs. Matt Wiman
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 5:30 p.m. ET)
Virna Jandiroba vs. Mallory Martin
Makhmud Muradov vs. Trevor Smith