Ben Nguyen may have cruised to a quick win over flyweight contender Tim Elliott on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean “10” didn’t have some serious nerves.
Nguyen took on the well rounded vet at UFC Fight Night 110, and after a scramble on the ground, he sunk in a fight ending, rear-naked-choke. It was a massive, massive win for Nguyen, as heading into the contest, Elliott was ranked #8 at flyweight, while he was #12. Not only that, but Elliott isn’t far removed from a bout with Demetrious Johnson, and while he lost that fight, he did last five rounds with the renowned champ.
Well, after the bout, Nguyen reported the following regarding his pre-fight mindset (quote via MMA Junkie):
“For some reason I was really nervous for this fight,” Nguyen said. “I was really – I was waking up in the middle of the night in the sweats or something. I was like, ‘Why am I acting this way?’ But it turned out great, man.”
Indeed, it did turn out great for Nguyen, and some nerves leading up the bout are understandable no? Elliott is a tough out for anyone, and further, there was a lot riding on this fight for Nguyen in terms of future opportunities.
As a result, it’s going to be interesting to see what comes next for Nguyen. One could make the case for a bout with a top five contender, considering Elliott was ranked #8. Although, Nguyen might need to score another win before that happens.
When asked for his thought on his short term future, the 28 year-old said this:
“The division is up in the air; I don’t even know who’s going to be the champion in the next few days,” Nguyen said. “I don’t know. Is that big matchup going to happen, D.J. vs. T.J. (Dillashaw)? I don’t know. I just – keep fighting and winning. That’s all I need to do.”
Fair enough. With the win, Nguyen has now gone 4-1 in the UFC and his only loss during that time came against Louis Smolka.
Nguyen’s also evidence of the fact that fighters can rebound from a series of losses earlier in their careers, and still make it to the UFC. As 2010 came to end, Nguyen had lost four of five bouts and his overall record was 6-5. Now it’s 16-6, and he’s poised to jump up into the the top 10 of the UFC’s 125 division. That’s quite the turnaround.