Riding a five-fight winning streak inside the octagon, Allen (22-5 MMA, 10-2 UFC) will take on Paul Craig (17-6-1 MMA, 9-6-1 UFC) in Saturday’s middleweight headliner, which streams on ESPN+ from the UFC Apex.
Still on the right side of 30, training out of an elite gym at Kill Cliff FC and rapidly evolving in terms of skill, Allen is aware of his upside in the sport. Now it’s about grooming him to reach his ceiling, and he said this weekend’s opportunity is all part of the process.
“I think they realize I will be champion eventually,” Allen told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 232 media day. “I’m 27. I’ve still got plenty of time to go. So I think they realized I will be a champion and we’re just taking the proper steps toward that.”
On paper, the matchup between Allen and Craig is a grappler’s delight. They have a combined 11 submission victories inside the octagon, and have finished opponents with strikes on the mat, as well.
Craig said during his media day appearance that he expects a largely striking-based contest, although he thinks the finish will ultimately come on the mat. Allen’s take on the matchup wasn’t all that different.
“I’m definitely looking to knock him out,” Allen said. “100 percent, I’m looking to knock him out. Obviously, that’s the easier road to travel in my eyes. I’m expecting him to come out and be better than he was before, but I’m not scared to go to the ground with any man on this planet, especially at 185. I know how good I am.”
Despite his appreciation of his situation, Allen said his happiness around UFC Fight Night 232 solely depends on the outcome. He knows this is an important moment in his career to keep his momentum going and get bigger fights, and finding success is his sole focus.
“All of this literally means nothing to me if I don’t finish with a win on Saturday,” Allen said.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 232.