Cody Durden finds himself puzzled and disheartened by his exclusion from the ranked UFC flyweights.
Having won four consecutive fights, Durden (16-4-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) is slated to face Tagir Ulanbekov (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at UFC 296 on Dec. 16 in Las Vegas.
In Durden’s eyes, he was once part of the flyweight rankings before being replaced by David Dvorak. This decision strikes Durden as peculiar, especially given Dvorak’s current losing streak. Nevertheless, Durden remains determined to ascend to the top.
“It gets me one step closer to my goal, and my goal is top five now,” Durden told MMA Junkie Radio. “I’ve reached the top 15, even though I got bumped out by David Dvorak – which, he’s on a three-fight losing streak and he’s 3-3 in the UFC. I just believe that should be my spot, personally. But I think it gets me closer to my goal, which is top five.”
Durden has showcased his dominance in his past three unanimous decision wins, and a victory over Ulanbekov is likely to secure him a ranking.
“I don’t think I’ve lost a round in the last four fights,” Durden said. “It’s been good, man, taking it one fight at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time, and just being the best person I can be every day.”
Training at American Top Team, Durden has recently been honing his skills alongside top contenders Calvin Kattar and Rob Font. He believes this high-level training will propel him towards his goal of facing the division’s elite.
“I do have a goal in mind and that’s to get in the top five and fight one of the top five guys: Kai Kara-France, Amir Albazi, Brandon Royval,” Durden said. “There’s some studs out there.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.
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