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Meet Hakeem Dawodu: The kickboxer who brings a history of knockouts into his UFC debut

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Hakeem Dawodu will compete for the ninth time as a professional mixed martial artist when he makes his UFC debut in London this weekend, but he already has over 25 knockouts to his name when you take his kickboxing career into account.

The unbeaten former WSOF featherweight has moved from Calgary to Dublin ahead of the fight, trading Champion’s Creed for SBG Ireland, with a view to having more sparring partners at his disposal.

“Mean” Hakeem meets Scotland’s Danny Henry in London. Although Henry showed great grit to take a win in his debut when he met Daniel Teymur in front of his home crowd at UFC Fight Night 113, Dawodu doesn’t think the Scot’s durability will be enough to win him this fight.

“I tried to type his name into Google to see who I was fighting and I couldn’t find any tape on him. A lot of his fights seem to be in South Africa so I couldn’t find that much tape, but I saw his last fight,” Dawodu told MMA Fighting.

“He seems durable and he’s got a good chin, but I think my skillset is a lot better than his. I think I’m the better competitor in all areas. I don’t underestimate anybody, but I’m ready for anybody. I’m in good shape, I could do five rounds and I’m expecting a big win.”

The 26-year-old Dawodu believes big things await him on the other side of UFC Fight Night 127. Given his patent for knockouts, he thinks the masses will be drawn to his exciting style based on what takes place at The 02.

“I think I’m going to make big waves with this debut. I do expect to do big things in the division quite quickly, but I’m not going to let that play into my game plan,” he explained.

“I’ve had over 70 fights including my kickboxing career. As an amateur, I was 42-5 with 15 knockouts, and as a professional, I was 9-0 with seven knockouts. In MMA, I’m 7-0 with five knockouts. That experience is going to stand to me. I’ve just got to say calm and cold and take care of business.”

Although he isn’t specific about the round, Dawodu is confident he will provide some finality to his featherweight clash with Henry.

“I got at least three or four different scenarios that I keep seeing as to how I put this guy away. I know I’m going to finish, I just don’t know if it’s going to be in the first round, the second round or the third round. I’m just going to keep chopping at the wood and once I see him start to timber that’s when I’ll finish the job.”