Ige (18-7 MMA, 10-6 UFC) returned to the win column in emphatic fashion when he dropped and stopped Andre Fili (23-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC) for a first-round knockout in their featherweight co-headliner at the UFC Apex. The result got another Performance of the Night bonus for “50K” and proved once again he’s among the hardest hitters in the division.
On the heels of the highlight-reel performance, Ige said he intends to take several months off. His wife is close to giving birth to their second child, and Ige said he regrets not being around for the opening portion of his first child’s life, and won’t repeat that again.
He doesn’t mind putting his career on pause for family, though, because Ige already knows when he wants to be back. UFC is planning a mega-event at The Sphere in Las Vegas for Mexican Independence Day in September, and it’s a goal of Ige’s to be on that card.
“We’ll get back to work in maybe August or September,” Ige told MMA Junkie and other reporters post-fight at UFC Fight Night 236. “Like I said at media day, I would love to fight at The Sphere.”
Ige, 32, is open to any matchup the UFC presents to him next, but he does see some realistic possibilities against ranked featherweights. He wants to see how some key upcoming fights play out, but there are two in particular that would be fitting for a Noche UFC fight card.
“There’s multiple options,” Ige said. “If (Diego) Lopes gets through Sodiq (Yusuff), that could be a good one, or I could take out the loser of maybe (Brian) Ortega and Yair (Rodriguez) – one of those guys depending how their fight goes in Mexico City. I know they’re going to want to stack it for Mexican Independence Day with a bunch of Mexicans, but I’ve got a left hook like a Mexican, too.”
For now, Ige is enjoying the fruits of his labor. He said he took no joy out of knockout out Fili, who is a former training partner and someone he has formed a bond with. He knows it’s all business inside the octagon, however, and he did what the job requires.
“I’ve had visions,” Ige said. “I’ve had dreams of knocking him out, but you can’t just expect to knock the guy out and it doesn’t happen. But it did tonight, and it felt nice and I definitely dreamed that one.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 236.