Hakeem Dawodu is on a three-fight win streak after scoring a highlight-reel knockout over Yoshinori Horie at UFC 240. During his post-fight fight interview, he proclaimed, "Canadian MMA's coming back!" His win in Edmonton already has him wanting to be on the Ultimate Fighting Championship's Vancouver card and Dawodu feels he can be the new face of Canadian mixed martial arts.
"I want to be the next Canadian guy people want to look up to," Dawodu told ESPN. Since Georges St. Pierre, it seems no fighter from Canada has lived up to the standard set forth by the two-division champion and it does not seem a fighter has emerged to fill that void for Canadian fans. When asked if he thought anyone has come close, Dawodu replied, "I don't know."
There was a time Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who fought on the same card was thought to be that fighter but he picked up his third loss in a row at UFC 240. There is just as much talent for the sport as there is anywhere else but when someone like St. Pierre puts a region in the spotlight, it is only natural for fans of the sport in that region to look for who their next representative will be.
The Vancouver event is scheduled for Sept. 14 and is headlined by Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje. There are currently 10 fights on the card and it would seem Dawodu is ready to be on that card if the UFC wants to add a local featherweight to it. While he did pick up a win that earned him a "Performance of the Night" bonus, Dawodu was critical of his own performance but believes this victory with the finish has him back on track.
Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since the first UFC. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.