Jack Hermansson was hoping for a big name like Yoel Romero or Kelvin Gastelum to add to his stellar run of four fights that saw him claim victories over Thales Leites, Gerald Meerschaert, David Branch and Ronaldo Souza.
With the Swedish middleweight appearing to be one fight away from title contention, some were surprised to hear that he would be taking on ninth-ranked Jared Cannonier in the UFC Copenhagen main event on Sept. 28.
The former Cage Warriors middleweight champion admitted that he was hoping for a bigger assignment too.
“Yes [I was looking for a bigger opponent] for sure,” Hermansson told MMA Fighting’s podcast.
“At the end of the day, I wanted to stay active and I wanted to headline this card. When they couldn’t get me Gastelum and I knew that Romero was fighting Costa, I was just kind of like, ‘Who is the next one?’ [UFC] told me that I would get Cannonier,” he explained.
“He’s a dangerous opponent. A lot of people, especially the fans, are asking me why I’m doing this. Instead of just being like, ‘Yes, this is great! We’re going to have you in Copenhagen,’ instead they’re saying, ‘You shouldn’t take this fight!’”
Cannonier has won his two UFC tests at middleweight so far, but Hermansson feels as though they are in different positions. That being said, the Scandinavian front-runner wants to prove that he can take on all challenges by accepting the fight.
“We’re definitely in different positions, but I want to show people that I am the best and I can beat anyone; he shouldn’t beat me. If I feel like I’m the best in the world, I’ve got to show people that I can take care of business. Then I think it’s my turn again to get a big [fight].”
Although he admitted that Cannonier was not his preference for the Copenhagen main event, Hermansson does see the value in competing in front of his beloved Scandinavian fans with a view to making bigger fights in the future.
“I don’t like to turn down fights and also, the UFC need a main event there. As I’ve said before, I want to be that guy in Scandinavia that has that place. Also, I think it’s beneficial for me to get another main event to build my name and get even more recognition worldwide from UFC fans. I think that’s important for the UFC – before they throw me into a title fight I think they want to be able to put me in a big fight that allows me to continue to build my name.”