Dustin Kimura knows he’s undefeated. Believe it – he knows he’s undefeated.
But that’s not something the UFC bantamweight can sit around thinking about. He’s got more important things on his mind.
Namely, Kimura (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) wants to beat up Mitch Gagnon (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 165. It’s nothing personal against Gagnon. Kimura, at this point, wants to smash everyone he can if it means working his way up toward a UFC title shot.
Kimura and Gagnon meet on the UFC 165 preliminary card at Ari Canada Centre in Toronto. The event’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook.
Kimura knows there’s another unbeaten fighter on Saturday’s card, too (not counting Jon Jones, who might as well be). Khabib Nurmagomedov is 20-0, and Kimura thinks he can just keep building toward a number just like that one.
“That’s the plan – that’s the plan. It’s a hard task, but that’s the plan,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio. “Every fight that I go through, I could get knocked out. I could get submitted. I could lose. That’s the reality. But I don’t think about that at all. All I think about is, I’m going in there to smash this guy. I’m going in there to take names.”
The name on Saturday, Gagnon, will have gone a year since he last fought – also in Toronto at UFC 152 on this same weekend in 2012. In that fight, he needed just 69 seconds to submit Walel Watson for his first UFC win, coming off a “Fight of the Night” loss to Bryan Caraway two months prior in his promotional debut.
Gagnon is from Ontario, so he’ll be fighting once again for his home-country faithful. In fact, all of his fights have been in Canada, with now two in a row coming in his home province.
Kimura, though, made the 12-hour trip from his home state of Hawaii. When he debuted with the UFC in February, a submission win over Chico Camus at UFC 156, he only had to go from Hawaii to Las Vegas.
But this time, the distance isn’t bothering him. He figures he got his jitters out in February. One fight in, it’s old hat to him.
“The first fight, I was up on the big stage and I wasn’t tuned into the fight until I got cracked,” he said. “And I pretty much woke up and realized, ‘Oh, f–k. Get my s–t together.’ Now it’s 180 degrees different. I’m fully prepared and fully excited for this fight. I can’t wait for Saturday. The last time, fight week, it was just, ‘Holy crap, I’m actually here,’ and letting everything else get to me. Now I’m just focused on the task at hand. It was definitely lessons learned in that fight.”
One fight in, Kimura isn’t thinking he can go out and beat Gagnon and be looking at a bantamweight title shot. But the way the bantamweight division has been in flux lately, he’s not thinking getting a shot eventually is beyond the realm of possibility.
He missed weight for his debut against Camus, then struggled early in the fight before turning things around. He said he went back to the tape of that UFC debut and saw what he had to shore up.
With those things in the bag, and a continued focus of improving his game in all areas, Kimura might be ready to just have opponents lined up for him. Keep ‘em coming, he figures.
“I just want to fight whoever they tell me to fight and get as many fights in the UFC as I can,” he said. “It all depends on who I fight, how exciting it is and how I finish them, but I know I can get up there real soon. I want to get that belt one day and I want to get paid. But right now, I’m just looking to win, get paid and looking for that bonus.”
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