Fighting Words: Dan Ige Ready To Take Over The UFC’s Featherweight Division

In one of the most unusual of circumstances, the UFC will be hosting a fight night in the middle of the week. “Fight Island” will be used once again on July 15, and will see Dan Ige face off against Calvin Kattar. A win could help boost Ige’s chances of competing for the UFC Featherweight Title.

Ige (14-2) is ranked tenth in the UFC’s featherweight rankings. Ahead of him is Frankie Edgar, who is moving to the bantamweight division, Yair Rodriguez, Chan Sung Jung, Brian Ortega, and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Some fighters, like Ortega-Jung and Magomedsharipov-Rodriguez, are scheduled to compete sometime this year. Others have not been as active as he has.

“Sometimes I don’t understand it,” Ige stated to MMA Fighting when it comes to the rankings. “You’ve got Brian Ortega – I feel like he retired after Max [Holloway] beat him up. He hasn’t fought in two years. I have a lot of respect for that guy, too, but he hasn’t fought for two years and he’s still ranked like No. 2 in the world or something.

“Then you’ve got Yair [Rodriguez] and Zabit [Magomedsharipov], a guy we manage, but then again same thing. I’m not talking bad about my guys, but they’re not active and they’re not fighting. Even if these guys are scheduled to fight or whatever in August, who even knows when they’ll fight again. I’m just focusing on me right now. I’m doing what I have to do to get a title shot.”

Riding a six-fight win streak, Ige (14-2) has already fought twice in 2020. Following a unanimous decision win against Kevin Aguilar at UFC 247 back in June 2019, “Dynamite” beat Mirsad Bektic this past February via split decision. This will be a quick turnaround bout for him, as Ige beat Edson Barboza via split decision back in May.

He faces Kattar (21-4), who is 3-2 in his last five fights. The 32-year-old lost to Magomedsharipov back in November in a Fight of the Night winner. He also recently fought in May, beating Jeremy Stephens via a highlight reel TKO. Kattar is ranked sixth in the UFC’s rankings.

Ige is hoping to compete for the UFC Featherweight Title. The current champion, Alexander Volkanovski, just beat Max Holloway at UFC 251 to retain the title. No longer injured after healing from a broken hand, Volkanovski has a lot of challengers waiting to face him. Is Ige one of them?

“It’s very, very possible,” Ige went on to say. “I truly believe I will be. I’ve wrote these goals down, I think since 2018, I have a note somewhere that says I will be a UFC champion in 2021. I tweeted something about it and I got Volkanovski’s attention. He wrote nope, and I told him no disrespect champ, but I’m coming.”

UFC on ESPN 13 is on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The action begins around 7 p.m. ET with main card action at 10 p.m. ET. 

Main Card (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET)

Calvin Kattar v. Dan Ige

Tim Elliott v. Ryan Benoit

Jimmie Rivera v. Cody Stamann

Molly McCann v. Taila Santos

Abdul Razak Alhassan v. Mounir Lazzez

ESPN/ESPN+ PRELIMS, 7 p.m. ET

John Phillips v. Khamzat Chimaev

Ricard Ramos v. Lerone Murphy

Modestas Bukauskas v. Andreas Michailidis

Jared Gordon v. Chris Fishgold

Diana Belbita v. Liana Jojua

Jack Shore v. Aaron Phillips

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