Pretty smooth, Mr. Klose, throwing in the name of tomorrow’s co-main eventer, a fighter the Michigan native defeated in 2018. It’s one of seven wins he’s secured in the UFC since joining the roster in 2017, with only two defeats, to David Teymur and Saturday’s headliner, Beneil Dariush. The Dariush loss came in a wild fight where Klose may have been a punch or two away from victory before being stopped himself, and if he did beat the perennial lightweight contender, that would be a six-fight winning streak for the 35-year-old. Of course, what ifs and a metro card get you on a train in New York City, but the point is that Klose has proven he can hang with the big dogs and as 2023 closes, he may be a win away from the biggest year of his career in 2024.
“I’m a big believer that everything happens at the right time, and sometimes, if you try to rush it, it doesn’t happen,” Klose said. “So I think everything’s starting to line up perfectly for me, and I just got to go out there and prove it to everyone and get the win. I know Joe is a tough guy, but I don’t think he’s a true mixed martial artist. He’s just more of a grappler. So I think it’s easier to plan for this fight. He’s not really going to strike, so I just have to be patient with him and just go slow and match his pace.”
And get the W – no mess, no fuss, no bad blood – just two of the good guys of the sport fighting each other for 15 minutes or less. And that’s okay with Klose.