While it seemed like everybody, including Dana White, was intrigued by a potential matchup between James Krause and Joaquin Buckley, the UFC ended up going in a different direction.
It all began when Buckley spoke with MMA Fighting following his KO of the Year finish of Impa Kasanganay when he called for a fight with Krause—who then responded to and accepted the callout following his victory over Claudio Silva at UFC Fight Island 6.
The Silva win seemed to come at a price as Krause competed on essentially one leg for the majority of the fight in earning a unanimous decision in the short-notice matchup. While it looked a lot worse watching it live, Krause says he’s back on the mats with no restrictions.
“It’s nothing serious,” Krause told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “No surgery or anything like that. I don’t ever think it’ll be the same, but it’s pretty close. I’m about as good as I’m going to be.”
Buckley followed up his career-altering victory when he put away Jordan Wright at UFC 255 in the second round and then doubled down on his callout in his post-fight interview. He also went on to call out Krause’s entire team at Glory MMA when he joined an episode of What the Heck in November.
In the end, the UFC booked Buckley to face Alessio Di Chirico at UFC Fight Island 7 on Jan. 16. When the fight was confirmed, fans publicly chastised Krause, alleging he was ducking Buckley.
Krause was asked to give his take on why the fight wasn’t put together.
“I’m not really sure,” Krause said. “I don’t have the answer to that, to be honest with you. I’ve asked for it twice. I don’t know. I don’t want to keep talking about it, because I feel like this is a fight that’s not going to happen, so I don’t want to keep talking sh*t about something that’s not going to happen. There’s nothing that’s going to come from it.
“I don’t think it’s on his end. I don’t think it’s that he doesn’t want to fight me. I’m not saying he’s ducking me, but to say that I’m ducking him is absurd. And I didn’t hear him say that, but from anybody who knows me and has followed me in my career knows that that’s not true.”
The Missouri native has won seven of eight, with the lone defeat coming via a controversial split decision when he faced Trevin Giles up a weight class on a day’s notice at UFC 247. Krause was willing to face Buckley at 170 or 185. It was a popular piece of fantasy matchmaking amongst the MMA community, but the fact that the matchup wasn’t put together certainly isn’t stressing out the 36-fight veteran.
“I’ve asked for the fight,” Krause explained. “They didn’t want to make the fight. I can’t force them to do it. I don’t know the answer, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I haven’t lost a minute of sleep over it. My bills are paid regardless.”
At media day for UFC Fight Island 7, Buckley was asked if he still feels compelled to fight Krause somewhere down the road and his response was negative.
“No, not anymore,” Buckley said. “He missed his opportunity.”
Krause has too much on his plate to worry about a matchup that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Not only is he climbing the welterweight ranks, he’s also a head coach with a slew of fighters on the books to compete inside the octagon in 2021—including Megan Anderson who is set to challenge Amanda Nunes for the featherweight title at UFC 259 in March.
To be crystal clear, Krause wants it to be known that he wanted to face Buckley in the octagon, but that ship has sailed for now.
“I’ve done everything on my end to get the fight,” Krause stated. “I hope I don’t see this as clickbait where people chop this much of it, but I’m over it. I asked for the fight. they didn’t want to make it, no problem. But quit saying I’m ducking. I haven’t ducked anybody in my life. Look at the resume. Compare my resume to his. I’m not scared of him, I know he’s not scared of me.
“I tried to make the fight happen, they didn’t make it happen, cool. I’m onto the next.”