Sodiq Yusuff (11-1) is the third wave of MMA's Naija Invasion - the featherweight division's top young threat. He outhustles the underrated Andre Fili with smooth boxing and new shades of grappling en route to unanimous 29-28 scores, boosting his UFC mark to 4-0. #UFC246 pic.twitter.com/P9CGocu2TO— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) January 19, 2020
Sodiq Yusuff continued his rise to stardom at UFC 246, earning his sixth consecutive victory with a unanimous verdict over Andre Fili in a preliminary featherweight tilt.
“I expected a rough fight coming into it,” Yusuff said. “I thought if I landed well that I could get him out of there. He was durable, he’s tough, but I didn’t really expect anything less than that. He’s been here for a long time, so he’s not just going to crumble under the pressure. I wish it could have been a little more action-packed in the third round because I did want that ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus, it would help my family out a lot. It’s ok though, we got the win, so we’ll build on this and move on to the next one.”
Yusuff’s resume also includes triumphs over Gabriel Benitez, Sheymon Moraes and Suman Mokhtarian, but his latest victory stands out above the rest, and the 26-year-old Team Lloyd Irvin product is ready to begin making a serious push in the rankings.
“This is definitely the biggest win of my career, I think Fili is right up there close to the rankings, so this should put me close to the top 15 and then I’ll start climbing that ladder,” he said. “I take one fight at a time, that’s how I’ve done it my whole career. The only thing I’ve ever been sure about is that I would end up in the UFC, everything outside of that is ‘figure it out when we get there.’.I knew my talent and work ethic would get me here.”
Following a 2019 that saw Nigerian-born fighters Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya capture UFC titles, Yusuff — another athlete with roots in the African country — hopes to follow their footsteps.
“At the end, I gave a shout out to Nigeria and said, ‘My people, I’m here too. My older brothers have already gotten their belts, God willing I’ll get there too one day.’”