ATLANTA – Nikita Krylov wasn’t even two years into his professional MMA career when he first met Ovince Saint Preux inside the octagon, at UFC 171.
So it’s really no surprise when Krylov (24-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) says that when they met again five years later, in the pay-per-view main card of Saturday’s UFC 236, things felt “completely different.”
They looked different, as well; after needing less than 90 seconds to catch Krylov with a Von Flue choke then, Saint Preux (23-12 MMA, 11-7 UFC) was the one tapping to a choke this time around.
But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Krylov had never needed the judges’ scorecards back then and that remains the case now. In fact, in both his UFC stints, he’s only been to a third round once.
The secret to Krylov’s finishing ways? Well, it’s quite simple, really.
“Even when I was an amateur, I never wanted someone else to make decisions for me,” Krylov said through an interpreter backstage at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. “So I always try to finish the fight before it goes to the decision.”
It could be a language thing, but don’t expect Krylov’s responses to get much more elaborate than that. Much like his style of fighting, the light heavyweight seems to be very to-the-point when answering questions about his career and future.
Take, for instance, a question about champ Jon Jones.
While it might seem early to have those conversations, specially considering that Krylov is only 1-1 in his second UFC run, the 205-pound division is notoriously shallow. Often, a fighter is only two or three straight wins away from a title shot.
So how far does Krylov see himself from an opportunity like that?
“Then, I need two, three wins,” Krylov said.
As for how the 26-year-old Ukrainian fighter believes he matches up with current 205-pound champion Jon Jones?
“I’m excited for this match-up,” Krylov said. “But, as far as the style or how it’s going to go down, I’m sure I’m going to (grow) as a fighter more. Because, after two or three wins, I’m going to get even more skills. Because I’m developing every fight.”
It’s worth noting that, even if Krylov does credential himself in a few fights, it might not be against Jones. The belt could be changing hands as soon as July 6, in fact, when Brazilian challenger Thiago “Marreta” Santos is set to headline UFC 239 opposite Jones.
In any case, that’s a conversation for another time, as Krylov has more immediate aspirations right now. And while they don’t involve any specific opponents, they do involve a spot in a specific card.
“I don’t have any injuries coming off this fight, so I just need a couple of weeks to be with my family and then I’m good to go,” Krylov said. “But, also, I heard probably the UFC is going to have another event in Russia this summer. So, if it’s going to happen, I really want to be there.”
Oh, and this one other thing.
“I really hope to see myself in the rankings, top-15, top-10, because I finished the fight,” Krylov said. “And I’m going to wait for the next opponent. I’ve never turned down a fight in my life, so I’m really excited what the UFC is going to offer me next.”
To hear from Krylov, check out the video above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Nikita Krylov hoping to be ranked after UFC 236 finish – and fight Jon Jones eventually