UFC 171â€™s Dennis Bermudez OK with â€˜long routeâ€™ to title, but feels he has Aldo's number
Despite owning a commendable five-fight UFC winning streak, Dennis BermudezÂ is in no rush to challenge for UFC gold.
So many consecutive wins inside the octagon would typically put a fighter at the forefront of a championship bout, but Bermudez (12-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) said even if he gets past Jimy Hettes (11-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) for his sixth straight victory this weekend at UFC 171, he wonâ€™t be knocking down any doors for a championship bout.
â€œIâ€™m OK with taking the long route,â€ Bermudez told MMAjunkie Radio. â€œI donâ€™t really mind it. Iâ€™m still getting paid, but Iâ€™m definitely in the sport to be the best.â€
While Bermudezâ€™s current run should have at least earned him a chance to fight a top-10 opponent, he instead was offered a matchup against an unranked Hettes.
A victory over â€œThe Kidâ€ is unlikely to move Bermudez much higher in the divisional pecking order, but the 27-year-old feels it will at least get him the caliber of opponent he desires â€“ and, ultimately, move him into a better position to eventually get that title shot.
â€œA win over Hettes may give me a top-10 guy,â€ Bermudez said. â€œIâ€™ll beat him, and then Iâ€™ll probably have maybe one or two more before a title shot, depending on how they go and all that stuff and who it is.â€
One thing that could be holding back Bermudez from facing the elite is that four of his five UFC wins have come by decision. While thereâ€™s no denying a majority of those fights have been entertaining, the UFC historically rewards athletes who finish fights.
Although Bermudez would prefer shorter nights of work, he believes the combination of the sport maturing and the dynamic of fighters in his weight class are the reasons behind the lack of stoppages.
â€œThe older the sport gets, I think itâ€™s going to be harder and harder to finish guys,â€ Bermudez said. â€œEveryone is getting better together, and weâ€™re also in a weight class where thereâ€™s not as many knockouts as there is at 205 (pounds) or heavyweight.
â€œItâ€™s got to be right on that sweet spot exactly for a 45er to put a guy out.â€
Bermudez will do his best to knock out or submit Hettes before time expires on Saturday at UFC 171, which goes down inside Dallasâ€™ American Airlines Arena. Bermudez fights on the FOX Sports 2-televised preliminary card, which precedes the nightâ€™s pay-per-view main card.
With a win, â€œThe Menaceâ€ hopes fans will begin to rally behind him for a future showdown with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (24-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC).
Bermudez will be fine if he doesnâ€™t get that shot in the near future, but should he eventually earn the opportunity to challenge for the belt and Aldo is still ruling the division, the American feels very confident he has what it takes to dethrone â€œScarface.â€
â€œI watched his last fight against Lamas; I was there, and I saw Sean Shelby afterward, and I was like, â€˜Man, Iâ€™ll tell you what, I got something for Aldo,â€™â€ Bermudez said. â€œIâ€™d just stay in his face, get him tired. I think a lot of fighters give him a lot of respect and really fear his one-hitter accuracy and his ability to put guys down with one shot.
â€œI think Iâ€™ve been hit with hard shots at the 145 weight class, so Iâ€™m not afraid to get hit. I just go in there and get after it.â€
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