According to multiple reports, when it came to standing across the UFC Octagon with featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov, the line was very short.
The organization then picked up the phone and called Kyle Bochniak. The rest, as they say, is history.
Bochniak will meet Magomedsharipov at UFC 223. The highly-anticipated event will take place on April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. As it stands, the featherweight bout will open up the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card.
When Bochniak got the call from the UFC offering him this fight, there was no hesitation and no doubt in the mind of the Boston-based scrapper.
“They called me, they offered me Zabit and I said ‘Hell Yeah’,” Bochniak told SFLC Podcast. “It’s the perfect opportunity to show my skillset. This is the type of fight that is goign to bring out the full potential in myself. I don’t care about his skills, or the hype this kid has. He’s just a man. A lot of people turned this fight down because they were afraid of taking an L, but I’m not like that. I’m looking forward to derailing the hype train.”
Following the announcement of the bout, MMA fans around the world had immediately begun to declare Bochniak “a sacrificial lamb” for Magomedsharipov, winner of 10 straight fights, including his first two inside the Octagon. Despite the doubters and non-believers, “Crash” isn’t deterred by the negativity. In fact, it adds a bit of fuel to an already established fire.
“I handle it fine,” Bochniak said about the fans doubting his chances. “I wake up in the morning, do what I do, do what I’ve been doing — eat my breakfast, go to the gym and train hard. I’m getting ready for April 7. Everybody’s looking past me. They think this kid is going to destroy me. They think I’m just going to lay down for this kid, which is not the case at all! I know my full potential, I know what I’m capapable of and that’s all I need to know. I’m gonna go in there, and when he sees that I’m game, he’s going to start thinking twice.
“It puts a little chip on my shoulder to prove all the haters wrong,” Bochniak continued. “I’ve always had that chip on my shoulder. I have never turned down a fight and I want to go in there and prove to everybody, and myself, that I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to. For this particular camp, there’s definittely a little more edge. A lot of people are talking crap saying I’m a sacrificial lamb. I stepped up! I know we’re going to get in a brawl, I’m gonna throw down and I’m not afraid at all
This will be the fifth UFC appearance for the 31-year-old Bochniak. Most recently, he defeated Brandon Davis via unanimous decision at UFC 220 back in January. Bochniak opened a lot of eyes when he made his UFC debut on just days notice against Charles Rosa at UFC Fight Night 81 back in January 2016. Despite losing a unanimous decision, Bochniak gave the veteran everything he could handle and would bounce back with a decision win over Enrique Barzola seven months later at UFC on FOX 21.
Magomedsharipov made his UFC debut back in September against fellow newcomer Mike Santiago at UFC Fight Night 115. The 27-year-old Russian fighter lived up to the months of hype by finishing Santiago via submission in the second round. He would return in November at UFC Fight Night 122 against Sheymon Moraes and picked up another submission victory.
Despite the impressive resume, and having less professional fights overall, Bochniak feels that the Octagon time he has logged will play a factor on April 7 in Brooklyn.
Kyle Bochniak poses for a portrait backstage after his victory over Brandon Davis during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
“I believe in experience, definitely,” Bochniak said. “I have about an hour of time fighting in the Octagon. I’ve been in some crappy spots, I’ve been in some good spots and I’m coming off of a good performance. Experience in the Octagon matters. I don’t really care who he’s fought, how much time he has as a fighter. I know what I can do and I’m just gonna go in there and do it. I’m not gonna play this fight safe. I’m just gonna go in there, bang and we’ll see what happens
Bochniak is 100-percent focused on the task at hand. While the preparation inside the walls of the training room remains the same, there are certain aspects that “Crash” has decided to set aside as he gets ready for this big opportunity
“I signed the dotted line and I know what I signed up for,” Bochniak said. “I haven’t been posting anything to Instagram, I’ve been putting off interviews, everything. I’ve just been training my ass off and I’m looking to f—-n fight
There is something to be said about a fighter who has nothing to lose. That is not to say that Bochniak feels that way, but his demeanor and mindset towards this fight compares to having that mentality. No pressure, no cares in the world for the Sityodtong team member heading into UFC 223. Just belief and self-confidence
“I’m looking so forward to April 7,” Bochniak stated. “I’m about to turn a lot of heads and my stock is about to go way up. And I don’t know what it is — I’m just so calm and cool right now that it’s just crazy. This is all I know right now. I’ve been training my ass off for five months straight. I just came off of a fight, there’s not going to be any cage rust at all. I’m just doing what I need to do every day, training, eating right, pushing myself as far as I can go. I think I’m going to have a spectacular performance on April 7
“I’ve been as cool as a cucumber, haven’t watched any film on this kid, nothing! I’m just going to go in there and fight.”
On top of Octagon experience, Bochniak feels that there are many factors that will play in his favor when he takes on Magomedsharipov. If all goes according to plan, when the tide of the fight changes in Bochniak’s favor, everyone will be able to see it unfold”
“For me, I think it will be my heart, my cardio, my tenacity; all of the intangibles,” Bochniak said. “There’s alot of things this kid doesn’t have that I have. When I start pushing that pace and not backing down, and I start changing his world, he’s gonna know.”
Nothing is guaranteed in this world, especially in a sport like MMA. As confident and motivated as Kyle Bochniak is, the one thing he guarantees is an all-out battle of wills with Magomedsharipov to set the tone for the biggest event for the UFC in 2018 thus far.
It’s gonna be a dirty, dirty war,” Bochniak stated. “Someone’s gonna quit and someone’s gonna get finished. That’s the way it’s gonna go. You guys watching are gonna stop doubting me, start believing me and start believing in me. People seem to doubt me all the time and on April 7, they’re gonna say, ‘S**t, this kid’s a savage’ and start watching all of my fights.
Sean Shelby is gonna love me and then everyone will start to love watching me fight.”