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Nate Landwehr recounts hospital run-in with David Onama hours after insane FOTY win

Nate Landwehr guaranteed himself a spot on every “Fight of the Year” list for 2022 with his epic three-round battle against David Onama this past Saturday at UFC San Diego.

Landwehr stormed back from early trouble to win a majority decision in one of the wildest wars of attrition MMA has seen all year. His unbelievable heroics nearly ended before they began, however, when he suffered a grisly flash knockdown in the bout’s opening minutes.

“Man, s***, he clocked me — I don’t remember that,” Landwehr said with a laugh on The MMA Hour. “In my mind, I was in it. You know what I mean? ... He caught me with a good one. All you can do is keep going. What was I going to do, say, ‘Mama, I can’t go?’

“[My corner] knew the deal. I’ve got the heart of a champion and everybody that’s around me knows that there ain’t no stopping me unless I get stopped.”

Landwehr ultimately stayed true to those words. He gutted through the early adversity to then take charge in rounds two and three, nearly finishing Onama multiple times.

Unsurprisingly, both men were transported to the hospital afterward for precautionary reasons — and according to Landwehr, the two had another brief exchange once there.

“I’ve seen him at the hospital,” Landwehr said. “I was like, ‘I told you, you was gonna bleed, man. Well you bleeded, didn’t you?’ That’s what I told him at the weigh-ins — at the weigh-in I was like, ’You think you’re the boogeyman, bro. Tomorrow, you gonna bleed.’”

All in all, it was easily the most memorable win of Landwehr’s UFC career, a performance that sent the crowd inside San Diego’s Pechanga Arena into a frenzy.

Landwehr theatrics during the few breaks in the action didn’t hurt matters either, even if the 34-year-old Tennessee native has some regrets.

“There was one point — I don’t know if it was on TV or not — but I started stomping on the two stomps, one clap,” Landwehr said. “Bro, I don’t know if it was in between the second round or the third round, but I did two stomps, one clap a couple times — and yo, the whole crowd started two-stomping, one-clapping. And it was loud. It was pretty tight. I’ve fought in front of biggest crowds before, but it felt big because it was packed.

“In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have let his ass up that last time — he clocked my ass. When I was getting out of the hospital, I was like, ‘In hindsight, man, 20-20 looking back, I would’ve went ahead and hit him with that [rapid-fire volley of punches] and the ref probably would’ve stopped it.’ But I think I got more notoriety doing it how it went.”

That notoriety and recognition has been a long time coming.

A 10-year veteran who’s fought around the world, Landwehr reigned as the M-1 Global featherweight champion prior to his UFC run. He went a perfect 5-0 with the promotion from 2017-19 and established himself as one of the most exciting fighters outside of the UFC en route to defending his M-1 Global title twice. The experience turned him into somewhat of a minor celebrity in Russia, and Landwehr still looks back on his time there fondly.

“It was a wonderful experience. Could you imagine an American dude like me that’s been watching Rocky his whole life, get a call, ‘You’re going to Moscow to fight in the Olympic stadium against the Russians.’ S***, it was like they wrote that s*** up, and it was like you’re starring in a movie, baby,” Landwehr said.

“It was the greatest experience of my life. Sometimes I wish I would have made it to the UFC quicker, but my journey is special to me. ... They treat you so well [in Russia]. I don’t know what it is about other countries and how much they respect and honor in power and strength and bravery, but they accept fighters immediately.

“I was telling those guys in fighter interviews,” Landwehr continued, “I was like, ‘Dude, I’m kind of more famous in Russia than here.’ But they’re catching up. I needed one good fight. That [Onama fight] was the fight that I needed, because I can fight my ass off, but I think I’m a good, good, good — maybe even a great — entertainer.”

Now riding his first UFC hot streak, Landwehr hopes to keep his momentum going. He’s won three of his past four UFC appearances and already has his eyes on a few names next.

“I wouldn’t mind touching [Andre] ‘Touchy’ Fili. That’d be good banger,” Landwehr said. “I wouldn’t mind taking the air out of Charles Jourdain.

“I wouldn’t mind taking $50k from Dan Ige. Zombie the zombie — I wouldn’t mind going ahead and getting a head shot on [The Korean] Zombie.”

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