Paul Craig jokes he's 'rocking the Nelly look' after taking shots to the face during UFC on ESPN 14 win
ABU DHABI – Scottish light heavyweight Paul Craig claimed a first-round submission victory over fellow submission specialist Gadzhimurad Antigulov on the main card of UFC on ESPN 14 on Yas Island.
Take a look inside the fight with Craig, who claimed a triangle-choke finish over the Russian grappler at Flash Forum.
Result: Paul Craig def. Gazhimurad Antigulov via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 2:06
Records: Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-7 MMA, 2-3 UFC), Paul Craig (13-4-1 MMA, 5-4-1 UFC)
Key stat: Craig’s victory extended his 100 percent finish rate, with 12 of his 13 career wins coming by submission, and seven coming via triangle choke.
Craig on his unseen weigh-in-day skirmish with Antigulov
“I enjoy the pageantry, if you will. It’s part of me getting into my opponent’s mind. But what you didn’t know was backstage (after the face-off) it actually kicked off again. We came walking out, we did the weigh-in, we went out the back door and came in the side door. He had the opportunity to turn round at that point, when it was just myself and him. He waited to get back in where all the teams were and then he came up to me and spoke some language I didn’t understand. I assume he was telling me to calm down. Then I definitely stood up, and I may have pushed him, maybe. I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but something definitely happened, and the security guards were like, ‘Mr. Craig. Calm that down, or you’ll go and sit in the head teacher’s office.’ So that’s what happened.”
Craig on his tendency to take damage before getting the win
“It happens, doesn’t it? Everybody seems to take me down and end up in this bad position where I am able to facilitate a triangle. It was one of these bittersweet moments because, although I was sinking that triangle in, I had to take extra shots to the face that resulted in me getting a couple of stitches and rocking the “Nelly” look – “90’s Nelly.” He was dropping these elbows, but every time he was dropping them and hitting punches he was getting deeper and deeper sunk in this choke, resulting in the victory, so it was bittersweet.
“We’ve said this before. I’m the Homer Simpson of MMA, I take a bit of damage, and then it results in the victory. But I’ve got a good record against Russians, especially dangerous Russians. But ideally (I’d get) no damage but, hey, we get the job done!”
Craig on potential next opponents
“I would love to run back a fight, and you know what fight I’d love to run back. It ended in a draw for me. It was against Shogun Rua. I had an opportunity to fight one of the greatest fighters in my division and I took that in a heartbeat. But from his point of view, he took a last-minute opponent. … so it was unfair on him as well. If both of us had a full fight camp, what would that fight look like? Could it be another legendary fight for Shogun Rua? Could I then go in the history books with Shogun Rua? That’s what I want. But Shogun Rua, as we know, tends not to have a quick turnaround, so there’s other fighters there.
“There’s Ryan Spann, who we were supposed to fight in London, and unfortunately that didn’t go ahead. Very powerful striker. Very slow, as well. We’ve also got Johnny Walker – I’ve been tagged in a few posts (about) that. That would be a very interesting fight. I know he’s coming off a few losses, but he’s already built a name for himself. He’s built a name for being explosive and winning fights crazily. I believe he’s got holes in his game and I believe there’s opportunities for me to capitalize on that.”
To hear more from Craig, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.