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Arnold Allen: I’m ‘definitely not the odd man out’ in featherweight title picture

Arnold Allen on The MMA Hour

Arnold Allen thinks he’s done enough to merit an interim title shot.

At UFC Vegas 63, Allen earned the biggest win of his career, scoring a TKO win over Calvin Kattar after Kattar suffered a knee injury in their headlining fight. The win moved Allen to 10-0 in the UFC, the second-longest winning streak in the featherweight division behind champ Alexander Volkanovski, and while Allen would have preferred for the fight not to end the way it did, “Almighty” said he’s still pleased with his performance.

“I felt great,” Allen told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It was everything I prepared for and everything I kind of expected. All the things I know I can do and all that. It felt good. ...

“I was just happy I got a whole round in and it kind of went how I was planning it, and how I was expecting it. I got into a rhythm and felt good, so I feel like I would have built on it from there. But it is annoying the way it ended, but also, whatever. ...

“Obviously you’re happy to get a win, all your money, you progress. There’s all those things that are good, but then it’s not the best feeling. You feel bad. And there’s obviously the realization that could be you as well. You could be the one getting injured.”

The question now is, what’s next for Allen? Ten-fight winning streaks are rare in the UFC, and they usually lead to a title shot. However, the featherweight division is in an awkward spot at the moment. Though not official, Volkanovski seems to be on a collision course with Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title in February, and both Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett have also staked their claims for title consideration. As a result, rumors have circulated about a possible interim title fight, and Allen believes that of the names mentioned as possible contenders, he’s the one who cannot be denied.

“I think I’m definitely not the odd man out,” Allen said. “10-fight win streak, the longest win streak in the division. It’s definitely not me. It’s definitely not me. So there’s that.

“I think the first round showed that I definitely deserve to be up there with those top guys, that I can definitely do more than compete with those guys. It still would have been better to show that over five rounds, but I feel like I put my name firmly in that hat of the top guys.”

Undefeated since 2014, Allen solidified himself as one of the top featherweights in the world. But he has struggled to build momentum as injuries have kept him from competing multiple times a year since 2019. Fortunately, he escaped the Kattar fight with minimal issues and now hopes to have a quick turnaround, preferably at the UFC’s return to England, a pay-per-view event for the welterweight trilogy bout between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, that’s rumored for March.

“It would be really cool,” Allen said. “If they’re going to do a stadium show as well, it would be nice to be a part of. All I’ve heard is mid-March. I haven’t heard anything about location. All the talk seems to be that, seems to be pointing that is happening. That would be cool.”

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