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Damir Hadzovic hoping for big statement in Belem ahead of contract renegotiation

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Held vs Hadzovic Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Damir Hadzovic felt a little bit disrespected ahead of his last fight.

Pitted against Marcin Held in Sweden, “The Bosnian Bomber” was unimpressed with the UFC for constantly pushing his opponent’s image to promote the fight.

“I just remembered when they announced they fight that there was just a picture of him holding his flag, and I thought, ‘where am I?’” Hadzovic told MMA Fighting.

“To me, it just came across like the UFC were trying to put their money on him and that made me feel like they thought I was some kind of walkover. It doesn’t bother me now, I’ve been an underdog my whole life.

“The way I saw it — they didn’t know who I was ahead of my first fight with (Mairbek) Taisumov so I could understand putting him first — but in my second fight I got a call of my manager and I took the fight with Marcin straightaway. I thought I would get more respect from them for taking the fight.”

If he wasn’t getting the respect he deserved ahead of the fight, the stunning third-round knee finish of the Polish submission ace forced a lot of people to stand up and take notice. Hadzovic had already taken on the unenviable task of meeting surging Russian Mairbek Taisumov in his UFC debut. The bout resulted in a KO loss for the Bosnian before he bounced back with the stoppage of Held.

He now hopes to take out once-defeated Alan Patrick in his native Brazil, which he believes would be the perfect statement to lead himself back to the negotiation table with the UFC on glowing terms.

“I feel like after the Marcin Held fight people have opened their eyes a bit. I think they know that I come to fight now. Now, I want to go into this guy’s hometown and make another statement. I don’t care what the judges say, I just want to put on a good fight so the other fighters see me and fear me,” he said.

“To go in there and beat this guy in Brazil would be a really big statement. Maybe it will lead to more money and more respect. This is the third fight of a four-fight contract. This is my first contract, so I don’t have a lot of experience with these things, but I’m hoping that this performance will lead to bigger things for me.”

Although Patrick has only bested once, Hadzovic believes his intention to finish fights — rather than Patrick’s intention to win fights — will give him an edge in the lightweight clash.

“He goes out there to win fights, I go out to finish fights,” he said.

“I’m a purple belt in jiu-jitsu, and he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but I have five wins by submission and I think he only has two. He tries to grind people out to get the win, but I want the stoppage. I think he just wants to hold me on the ground and beat me up a bit, but I want to finish this guy. Finishes are the best way to make statements.

“To me, it seems like it will be about whether I can keep the fight standing or if he can take me down, but who knows, he could come out swinging too.”