The two men were penciled in to face each other during the pandemic, but Yusuff was forced to withdraw from the bout. Now, they’re standing opposite one another on the poster and primed to do the same inside the Octagon this weekend, and it’s another one of those touchstone points that present day Sodiq would love to go back in time and tell his younger self about if he could.
“I actually got Edson right at the beginning the pandemic, but I couldn’t go to Fight Island because I didn’t have a passport, so all that excitement came back,” he said when asked about getting the news that he would be facing the Brazilian veteran, who collected a second-round knockout win over Billy Quarantillo last time out.
“Again, it’s back to that Childhood Sodiq: when I was a kid, I used to have dreams of fighting UFC fighters, and it wouldn’t actually be the fight — it’d be me at the hotel, going to do media stuff, fighting Jeremy Stephens or Cub Swanson.
“They say, ‘Your idols become your rivals,’ and when I had my second fight in the UFC, Edson was fighting (Justin) Gaethje. I told him then, ‘I’m such a big fan,’ and now I get to fight him. I wish I had a time machine where I could go show younger me, when I was running on a track by myself, ‘Look at yourself on a poster!’
“That stuff makes me so happy.”