Lerone Murphy on Gabriel Santos: I believe I’m top 15 level, so I’ve got to beat anyone outside the rankings
LONDON – Lerone Murphy was unfazed by the opponent change at UFC 286.
Originally scheduled to face Nathaniel Wood at Saturday’s pay-per-view event at The O2, Murphy (11-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 UFC) ended up drawing newcomer Gabriel Santos (10-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on short notice.
Santos doesn’t quite hold the name value that Wood does, but for Murphy, winning in impressive fashion is what will lead to a ranked opponent next.
“I believe I’m top 15 level, so if I am, I’ve got to beat anyone outside of the top 15,” Murphy told MMA Junkie. “It’s as simple as that.”
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Although Wood announced that he’s out due to injury a month ago, Murphy only received a new opponent one week out of his fight – and the 31-year-old says he’s had to make quite the adjustment.
“It’s a totally different fight from the fight I had before,” Murphy said. “Nathaniel Wood’s more of a boxer, good calf kicker, good jiu-jitsu. This guy is a switch stance, he’s got a lot of tricks. So, it’ll be a fun fight. He comes forward, I just don’t know if he has the experience against top-level athletes like myself. We’ll see, time will tell. You only get tested on the day, right? So, I’m out there to put on a show. I feel good, I feel great, I’ve had a good camp, so let’s see what happens.”
UFC 286 takes place Saturday at The O2 in London. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.