Ghana's Abdul Razak Alhassan made light work of Niko Price at UFC 228 in Texas this weekend, winning his welterweight bout inside 45 seconds.
"Judo Thunder" talks to KweséESPN about his knockout victory over the American, walking out to 'The circle of life,' and fighting in the Welterweight division.
KweséESPN: Thoughts after the fight and the quick victory?
Abdul Razak: I feel amazing, I didn't expect to finish him that quick, I was ready for three rounds because I knew he is a tough fighter, so I'm pretty happy. I want to get back as soon as possible as I've been out for a while, since my fight in January. I heard there is a card in Milwaukee, I would like to be on that one. Whoever the bosses and my managers want me to fight, I'm ready to go for it.
KweséESPN: What was the game plan for this fight?
Abdul Razak: The game plan was to walk him down slowly not to rush him and try to finish him. The plan was to pick him apart bit by bit until he doesn't feel comfortable or want to be there anymore and then just finish him. Then he started to trade [punches] so I was like, 'okay let's trade' and then I just went for it. He's a tough guy and we've seen him come back and finish people so I was really ready for three rounds.
KweséESPN: What did you do in training that prepared you for this fight?
Abdul Razak: Training was amazing. I actually took this fight on short notice. I wasn't really in a good shape to be fighting but when my coaches heard about the fight we were like let's get on it right away. So actually I feel like this camp, even though it was short, it was the most gruesome training I've had. Within three weeks of training I felt ready. My coaches (Fortis MMA and Metroflex gym) pushed me. My strength and conditioning coach, my striking coach, my jiu jitsu coach, everybody, they all pushed me so hard.
KweséESPN: You've mentioned previously how sometimes you wait till you get hit before you really get going. Is that similar to a light switch turning on for you after the fight begins?
Abdul Razak: That's when it turns on because usually when I'm still in there I'm in there but I still feel calm in a way until I get hit with something. When I get hit with something I feel like it wakes me up more and that now I have to defend myself. Then I just go.
KweséESPN: How did you feel after the fight, knowing that it was your first Pay Per View fight, on the main card of an event and you put on a performance that might lead you to becoming a fan favorite?
Abdul Razak: Yes, this is my first fight on a Pay Per View. don't know [about becoming a fan favorite]. I like to be humble, I don't want people putting me on a pedestal. If I can come in the underdog I will never mind. I was kind of a little bit nervous but I'm happy it went the way it went.
KweséESPN: Fighting on a main card in your adopted hometown of Dallas Fort Worth, did that put any pressure on you and did you have family in attendance to watch the fight?
Abdul Razak: My wife doesn't like watching this kind of stuff. Usually she tells me right after the fight she should be the first person I call. She doesn't watch [live] on TV, instead she always watches it after the fight. I'm actually glad it's like that because I feel when you have family there watching you it puts a little pressure on you.
KweséESPN: You chose "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King soundtrack to walk out to the octagon. Was that your song choice and how did that come about?
Abdul Razak: I have two kids, a son and a daughter. My boy Razak is going to be four years old in October. My son is the kind of person that if he sees one cartoon he likes then he wants to watch it all the time. So my wife would tell me to come watch with them. I chose the Lion King movie and then he sat down and watched it with us and liked it. I thought since my son likes it then I'm going to choose the song. I'm going to keep it for the next fight too.
KweséESPN: The Welterweight division seems to be where the action is lately in the UFC. What are your thoughts on the division and the competition in it?
Abdul Razak: The welterweight division is really stacked. Everybody is good. I know the top 15 and there's no easy fight. If you find a hole in your game then you better seal that hole or they'll take advantage of it. Anybody they give you then you better put on your A game. I never underestimate anybody in the division.
KweséESPN: With Israel Adesanya in the middleweight division and Sodiq Yusuff added to the roster, there's a couple more African fighters in the UFC, how do you feel about that?
Abdul Razak: We're all making noise and it's good. Now it's time for us to show them that Africans know how to fight and have a lot of warriors. We're showing people what we can do because a lot of us Africans don't get the opportunity back in Africa to come here and show the skills. So if UFC really want more good fighters, keep your eyes on Africa because you'll find some good fighters out there.