While there may be a middleweight title unification bout coming up next weekend in Melbourne between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, and a probable top contender in Paulo Costa waiting for the winner, Jack Hermansson plans to make sure that he isn’t forgotten in the 185-pound title picture.
Hermansson, who recently signed a new six-fight deal with the UFC, will take on Jared Cannonier in the main event of UFC Copenhagen on Saturday. The event will take place at Royal Arena and will air on ESPN+.
“The Joker” returns to the top of the card for the second consecutive fight. This time, Hermansson will have a full training camp and will only have to travel “one hour by airplane” from his home base of Oslo, Norway.
“I’m pretty excited for this main event,” Hermansson told The Body Lock. “It’s my second main event and it was awesome last time. I’m sure this one will be better with it being so close to home.”
With four consecutive wins, including his most recent short-notice victory over Ronaldo Souza in the main event of UFC Sunrise in April, Hermansson was eyeing a fight with a top-five contender in the division. Most notably, Hermansson was hoping for a showdown with a recent interim middleweight title challenger. With the top of the division all booked up, or healing up, Hermansson wanted the toughest challenge he could get.
“I was really trying to get (Kelvin) Gastelum for this one,” Hermansson said. “That’s what I was hoping for. But at the same time, I was looking to get busy again, get in there for another main event. I asked the UFC who was the next guy in the rankings they could give me and they said the next guy that’s available is Jared. I told them, ‘all right, let’s go with Jared.'”
Cannonier has won both of his fights since making the move down to 185 pounds. “Killa Gorilla” entered the UFC as a heavyweight and, after five additional fights in the light heavyweight division, he made the move down. Cannonier made his middleweight debut with a second-round TKO win — on short notice — over David Branch at November’s UFC 230 event. Most recently, the 35-year-old Cannonier would pick up a first-round TKO win over Anderson Silva at UFC 237 after a leg kick buckled the former middleweight champ into not being able to continue.
Hermansson has been impressed with what he has seen.
“He looks solid here,” Hermansson explained. “He’s used to bigger opponents and he looks really powerful in this division. I’m expecting that. I’m expecting him to be super powerful (in this fight), but he’s been looking great so far (at 185). He came in at heavyweight and I’ve been watching all of his fights. He looked thick back then, not fat, but a lot of muscle. It’s amazing he can make this cut but it’s been working well for him. It was probably the right decision for Jared.”
The 31-year-old Hermansson knows what a victory can do for his place in the middleweight division. With a potential five-fight winning streak in his grasp, Hermansson is in no immediate rush to get to the 185-pound title because he knows his time will come.
In the meantime, Hermansson must mind his p’s and q’s when it comes to the power that Cannonier brings to the table.
“I think he’s right up there,” Hermansson said in regards to Cannonier’s finishing power. “You don’t want to get hit by Jared. He’s a heavy hitter, but all of the guys in the top-10 are so tough, all of the fighters are great. It’s all about how you can perform on that night in the cage so I feel like he’s on that level, he’s gonna be a tough challenge, but I still list myself as the better fighter in total.”
Jack Hermansson is looking to create a memory for the fans in Copenhagen on Saturday night, as well as a lasting impression on the UFC brass. “The Joker” sees a tough fight on his hands but when the smoke clears, Hermansson sees his arms raised in the air in far less than 25 minutes.
“I see myself finishing the fight,” Hermansson stated. “I see myself finishing the fight early, finishing the fight on top, I see myself going out, high pace, it’s gonna be fireworks and it will be me as the victorious one. That’s how I see it.”