One of the potential highlights of Saturday’s undercard of UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs. Barnett in Hamburg, Germany, is the 185lb clash between Scott Askham and Octagon newcomer, Jack Hermansson.
The Englishman and Swedish-Norwegian are both former champions from the European scene – BAMMA and Cage Warriors respectively – but that doesn’t mean Askham is particularly impressed with his opponent.
“I’ve watched a few of his fights since he signed to the UFC. I knew who he was before, but it’s a big step up for Jack Hermansson. He’s fought some decent guys, but the last two guys have been in his favor, let’s say. They must have known he was close to the UFC. He’s been managed correct and his management has got him in, but he’s going to have a rude awakening when he steps into the Octagon with me.
“I feel like everything’s where I need it to be. I feel sharp, I feel fit, I feel this is the right time for me to put a stamp on it, get another win and then start that win streak. I’ve never had a win streak in the UFC so this is my time to start it.”
For that reason, the 28-year-old said he didn’t expect a more high-profile opponent for his fifth UFC fight.
“Look, I’m not a matchmaker. They do matchmaking and I say yes. Jack Hermansson was the name they gave me and that’s the name I took. I’ve never been in a position to be calling people out. I started my UFC career on a loss and then I won, lost again, and then I won. This is the time when I can start calling people out – when I win this fight, when I’m on a win streak.
Askham’s previous fight with Chris Dempsey at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Bisping got him noticed thanks to a spectacular KO at the end of the first round, but he’s been on the shelf since that night in February. Now he sees a chance to start building some momentum – and requesting his next assignment.
“Obviously, I’m going to win, get another win, and then I can start shouting about who I want and where I want. Obviously, UFC Manchester is right around the corner from Hamburg and it’s literally around the corner from my house. It’s one of the closest events the UFC is going to put on until they bring it to Yorkshire. I’d love to get on UFC Manchester, but I’ve got to deal with Jack Hermansson, hopefully deal with him quick and make a shout for Manchester.”
And Askham expects to do that emphatically. If his ‘Performance of the Night’ in London didn’t clue you up sufficiently, he likes to throw on the feet – and he’s aiming for another stoppage.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence. I’ve just come off a knockout, my striking’s on point and I’m going in there to take his head off – no doubt about it. Everybody knows my game plan – there’s no hiding it – I’m going in there to strike and land vicious strikes. People say he’ll stand with me, but we’ll see. I’m always expecting that shoot. I’ll be ready for that, but he wants to stand and trade with me, I’ll be ready for that as well.”
Watch UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs. Barnett live on UFC Fight Pass from 4:45pm BST on Saturday, or catch the main card from 8pm BST on BT Sport