Interview with Natan Levy
The proof is in the pudding. In Natan Levy’s case the proof is his hard work, determination and willingness to believe in himself, the pudding, is the UFC contract he earned after submitting Shaheen Santana during the November 11 Contender Series episode.
Levy has shown these characteristics his entire MMA career. He bet on himself when he first moved to the United States from his native Israel to learn to be a mixed martial artist. The Israeli fighter was a karate student with no background in wrestling or jiu jitsu, now, Levy has three wins via submission in his professional career. To earn his UFC contract, Levy had to bet on himself again. He was originally scheduled to face Bruno Souza at LFA 95 but the UFC asked him to be a replacement on the Contender Series with only one day’s notice and at a higher weight class. For Levy, once he got his coach’s blessing, it was an easy decision.
“I had a few missed calls from him (his agent Jason House of Iridium Sports) and I called him. He said, hey man, there is a fight against so and so, up a weight class, the day after tomorrow. First of all, I was like, holy shit, two days from now? First thing I asked him was what does my coaches say? He always talks to my coaches and they make the call. I told him, if they believe in me, I always believe in me. So, I said did they want me to take the fight? He said I’ll talk to them. The moment he told me his name, I started watching him fight. Then the moment he told me they said yes, I took a glimpse at him fighting and I said yes. Then we were on way to make weight.”
The win was rewarding in itself, but for Levy, the win validated every sacrifice he made even if others questioned it.
“I feel like, it’s a big I told you so to a lot of people. I’m not holding a grudge against anyone at all but it is satisfying to listen to my own voice and my own path that I had in mind and not what other people told me I should be doing or should not doing. I just had this plan in my mind. Though a lot of things changed from what I thought originally but I took the hits and adapted the plan.”
In his previous fight, Levy had his toughest fight. Ben Lugo had Levy very hurt and looked like he would finish the Israeli fighter. However, Levy was able to compose himself and pull out a majority decision victory. That gave him the confidence to go into the Contender series and know that he can give his opponent hell and make it to the end victorious.
“The only thing I walked into the cage telling myself is I’m not giving him an inch. If he wants to knock me out no problem but I’ll give him hell before that. Same with submissions. Whatever he tries it might work it might not but I’m going to give him hell every minute.”
“I’ve been through hell and back and I made it out and nothing scares me anymore. I’m not afraid of getting rocked. I was in the worst position you can be in a fight and other than getting knocked out and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve been in the worst position and I fought out of it and not only did I fight out of it but I won the fight. I know I can do it.”
Natan Levy did not have to go through hell to earn his UFC contract as he defeated Santana in a very technical performance and left Dana White impressed with a third-round arm triangle choke. After the fight, he knew he did enough to get the contract.
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“I was pretty confident I’m getting a contract. I knew I brought it; I knew I took the fight on two days’ notice. The weight was above my usual one. If I don’t get one now, I should probably pack my things and go home.”
With a UFC contract in hand, Levy can finally take a deep breath. He has done many interviews for outlets in the U.S. and Israel. Now he is just waiting for his chance to make his official UFC debut. Levy says he will stay at lightweight where he felt stronger and after a bit of time off, he’ll be ready to go.
“I’m always ready, I’m always training, I’m always in shape, so I just have to heal my leg a little bit and I’ll be ready to go.”
When asked what was wrong with his leg Levy simply replied.
“I kicked someone’s skull.”