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Free agent Nordine Taleb's UFC on FOX 26 KO win might be last at welterweight, but not in UFC

WINNIPEG – Nordine Taleb just needed one well-placed kick and one follow-up right hand to end Danny Roberts’ night just 59 seconds into the opening round.

Now the French welterweight faces the question of his future as a free agent. And while he insists it will be with the UFC, he’s less convinced about the weight class.

The impressively violent finish should at least help him get some attention, which Taleb (14-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) insisted he was lacking after recent outings. His right high kick caught Roberts (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the face, staggering him against the fence, and his straight right landed flush while Roberts was still stunned, dropping him to the mat.

“It wasn’t a power kick,” Taleb said afterward backstage at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. “I just threw the kick to see what (would) happen, to see his reaction and get my range. But it landed just at the right place, right moment, so I just moved forward and maximized with my right hand to make sure the job was done.”

While Roberts seemed upset about the stoppage, Taleb noted that it could have been because “he didn’t know what happened, poor guy.”

But for Taleb, the question is whether his performance was enough to earn him a little more promotion from the UFC.

“(The win) places me as a serious guy, a serious prospect in the division in the UFC,” Taleb said. “I’m hoping that this fight will be seen a lot. Then the UFC will give me the support, and I hope I get (a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus, which he did) because I think I deserve it. It’s a less than 1-minute fight, a knockout, cold, so I think I deserve it.”

Complicating matters is Taleb’s current contractual situation. With that fight, he’s now a free agent, he said. But while he expects that it will be his last at welterweight, in part because he feels he can be more active as a middleweight, especially as he gets older, he doesn’t think it’ll be his last in the UFC.

In fact, he said, he doesn’t even plan to negotiate with other promotions.

“I’ve worked so hard to be in this place today, and I’m not about to leave the UFC,” Taleb said. “I just want the best for both of us, for me, for my family. And I’m pretty sure they will understand, and we will find the perfect range to stay together. The UFC is the most prestigious organization, and I’m looking forward to my next fight in the UFC.”

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 26, check out the UFC Eventssection of the site.

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