Top UK prospect Danny ‘Hot Chocolate’ Roberts will look to advance his UFC record to 2-0 this weekend when he faces fellow rising contender Dominique Steele at UFC 197 in Las Vegas.
Unlike is the case with most international talent from outside the US, the UFC have booked Roberts exclusively on Vegas cards up until this point (Roberts made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 80 last December). This is noteworthy as the vast majority of non-US fighters making their UFC debuts do so in native or neighboring territories. When asked about this, the 28-year-old Englishman seemed grateful to be given the chance to showcase himself away from home.
“I haven’t really looked into it too much. I’m just trying to do me and come across as the best athlete, and a product of how an athlete should be towards the fight game,” Roberts told FO after he touched down in Vegas this week. “I pride myself on that as a man, an athlete and a fighter.
“Ultimately, I do like the fact the UFC have got me out here in Vegas. It gives me a chance to get exposure towards all the US fans.”
With that being said, every fighter loves the support of a home crowd and Danny is no different.
After visiting London, England in February with UFC Fight Night 84, the promotion are rumored to be returning with another UK show before the end of the year. And, as a fighter who made a name for himself on the UK MMA circuit, Roberts would love to return to familiar territory after further establishing himself in the States.
“I would love to fight in the UK and be able to show the UK where I’ve come after such a long time,” he said. “Coming from the local circuit, my bread and butter was there. A lot of people got to see me grow and see the man, Hot Chocolate, that I’ve become today. I would love to get back over there before the end of the year.”
Like Roberts, the Brit’s upcoming opponent, Steele, is coming off a very impressive win. Steele beat UFC veteran Dong Hyun Kim via slam KO at UFC Fight Night 79 last November.
Like the more knowledgeable hardcore fans surely are, Roberts is expecting an exciting fight on April 23rd.
“I feel like it makes for an exciting fight. If you look at his last win and my last win, they’re both diverse in their own ways. We’re both explosive fighters, aggressive, come forward, put the pressure on. I feel like it’s two bulls in the center of a cage – we’re going to come to a head and the bigger, stronger, smarter athlete will prevail. I believe that’s me, without a shadow of a doubt.”
As for what lies ahead for Hot Chocolate in 2016, the promising young welterweight would ideally like to make a splash this weekend and be facing a top-15/top-10 opponent by the end of the year.
“I’ve got another two fights on my contract after this one. I’d like to move on pretty swiftly and make a statement, entertain the fans and put on a few good shows.”
He added: “It’s a majorly stacked division and there’s definitely fights out there that would bring out the best in me.”
UK fans can watch UFC 197 live on BT Sport from 1am (BST) on the morning of Sunday 24th April, plus catch the early prelims on UFC Fight Pass from 11:30pm on Saturday 23rd April.