Following a win over Bobby Green at UFC on FOX 31 to close out his 2018 in December, lightweight Drakkar Klose was looking to keep his momentum rolling into 2019, but so far things haven’t worked out that way.
Since his victory over Green, Klose has been on the shelf for eight months, with only a cancelled fight to show for his efforts.
“It’s frustrating,” Klose told MMAWeekly.com. “I was always on my manager asking when I could fight and all that, but I’ve been competing since I was in third grade, and injuries and stuff I’ve dealt with my whole life, I kind of used that time to get those little injuries fixed.
“The more you stay active the more you stay relevant and really get your name out there. Hopefully I can get this big win and try to get something before December. I’d still like to get three in before the end of this year.”
Along with healing up, Klose made a change of camps and hopes it will pay dividends when he does finally return to action this month.
“Actually I’m not training at my old gym anymore,” said Klose. “I’m at a new camp. A lot has changed in my life within that time. I’m just growing as a person and figuring myself out. Yes there’s a team aspect, but you’ve got to be selfish, and that what I’ve been learning in these last eight months.
“These coaches are pulling me aside and we’re working on my strengths, not trying to make everyone do the same thing. It’s more individualized. I’ve learned a lot just within this short time. They’re building up my strengths. We’re not all doing the same thing. I think it’s a good thing for my career.”
After having his fight for July cancelled, Klose (10-1-1) will finally have his first bout of 2019 on Saturday, Aug. 17, in Anaheim, Calif., where he’ll take on Christos Giagos (17-7) in a UFC 241 lightweight preliminary bout.
“I think this fight is kind of a step back, but I can never count any man out,” Klose said. “Everyone has a puncher’s chance. (Giagos is) a tough opponent and I’m definitely not taking him lightly. I’m taking him as the Number One guy in the world.
“Looking at him he comes out hard in the first (round) but dies out in the second and third, so I think that’s where my advantage is, definitely in cardio. I think I have better striking and better grappling. I think I’ll be able to beat him in every aspect of this fight.”
Having missed out on the 2/3 of the year, Klose is eager to return to action at least once more in 2019 and has an unnamed opponent in mind for his next bout.
“I already have a guy in mind,” said Klose. “I’d love to fight in Madison Square Garden (in November). I’m not sure if he has a fight lined up, and I know a lot of people are afraid of this guy, but I’m not. Once I get this win I’m going to call him out and see if I can get that fight.”