William Knight is learning that things are a bit different at the UFC level ahead of his octagon debut this month.
“Knightmare” picked up his second finish under the Dana White’s Contender Series banner at DWCS Season 4: Week 5 to turn his developmental deal into a full-on light heavyweight UFC roster spot with a first-round TKO of Cody Brundage. The New England regional standout ended his developmental run with a 3-1 record, all finishes, with his lone loss coming in a controversial fashion to fellow contract winner Tafon Nchukwi at CFFC 80 in November.
Since earning his contract, Knight has seen a flurry of commenters give their take on his physique; throwing out accusations that it isn’t natural. The 32-year-old felt the need to take on those comments head on.
“Let me tell all my haters something real quick: I have never, in life, used a f*ckin’ steroid,” Knight told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I don’t even know about cycling or whatever that sh*t is. I’m reading these things online and I’m actually learning more from these idiots than anyone because I don’t use steroids. I never even knew what these things were. They say, ‘Steroids can be used for recovery,’ I’m literally learning from these people.”
It’s not uncommon for Knight to hear those things, which he finds outrageous since before finding the sport around five years ago, Knight let himself go to nearly 300 pounds before making the decision to change his ways. With hard work, dedication, and motivation from trainers and coaches at Thornton MMA, as well as Iron Will Fitness in Connecticut, Knight wants it to be known that he became addicted to results, nothing more.
“The genetics in my family are ridiculous,” Knight said. “My dad, my brother, my cousins, these dudes are no joke. My brother is 6’1” and he’s just like me. I’m one of 14 siblings by the way, even my sisters, you’re telling me that all of us are using steroids? I’m not the only athlete in my family.
“I’ve never used no steroids or enhancements. I don’t believe in that sh*t. Even when I get sick, I don’t even take medicine. I can’t, and I refuse to use anything that’s gonna help me get better or help me heal. I don’t want to become dependent on anything. Because if I get hurt, and I can’t afford it, or I can’t find something, I don’t want that feeling of, ‘Oh, I need this.’ I don’t use any of it, ibuprofen, Tylenol, none of it.
“Listen, world. I was 297 pounds. I started lifting weights. I tried to build up thinking that lifting would help me lose weight. I ended up building up. Then Iron Will taught me calisthenics, cardio and diet which is why I look like this. Do not hate on me because I diet and do sh*t the right way and my body looks like this. I am sorry that my body looks like this. I’m telling you, I would choose to look a little out of shape so I could make 185, but I can’t. 205 is it. That’s the healthiest that I can do. Blame my mother and father.”
Knight turns around in less than four weeks notice to face Camur on a massive card, which includes two world title fights between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa, along with a vacant championship bout in his division pitting Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz.
Add the fact that Knight is excited to travel the world as a UFC-rostered athlete, but none of the excitement compares to the opponent he accepted to fight in Camur, who earned his contract by finishing fellow New Englander Fabio Cherant in the main event of a July 2019 DWCS event.
“I’ve been wanting to fight that dude since he fought Fabio,” Knight explained. “He said some disrespectful things in the camera about 205ers, ‘Anybody in the 205 division can get it,’ blah blah blah. I swear to god, the way he was looking in the camera, he was looking right at me when he said that. Every single day I kept telling my coach: when, not if, I make it to the UFC, once we get that contract, I want him as my first fight.
“I am grateful and humbled that I get him as my debut fight. He’s 6-0. I don’t care about the record, I gave all these guys their first loss. I don’t care about wins and losses. You could have a guy who is 10-0 and of those fighters, you probably have two-and-a-half decent fighters. People stack that record to build their confidence. I already have my confidence. When my manager hit me up, I didn’t even make it home yet. The second I landed, I got the text to call him as soon as possible.
“When I got the call, it was, ‘I don’t know if I want to fight in three weeks.’ My elbow was a little sore, and all that ran through my mind was the weight cut and not being able to eat the food I like (after a win). Then he told me the name and my whole demeanor changed. I was like, ‘Yo, I’m ready now.’”
It will be Camur’s second octagon appearance after earning a unanimous decision win over Justin Ledet in his promotional debut at UFC 246 in January. Being on the undercard of such a heavily promoted event such as UFC 253, Knight is motivated to set the table for the two title fights in emphatic fashion.
“The savage in me that I’m gonna let out is saying first-round TKO or KO,” Knight stated. “It’s not gonna last five minutes. It’s not. I’m not gonna allow it. I already told my coach to hit me at the three-minute warning, then you’re gonna see everything you would’ve thought in 15 minutes in three.
“I’m not playing games. This ain’t cockiness. This is me saying that’s how much I don’t like what that kid said. He had this cocky ass attitude. I don’t dislike him, I just dislike how he went about it.”