Font’s knockout of Roop at the 2-minute, 19-second mark also earned Font (11-1, 4 KOs) a $50,000 bonus check as one of two Performance of the Night award winners (the other went to female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey for her 16-second knockout win over Alexis Davis in the co-feature).
“I’m going to buy my girl something nice,” Font said.
Riding a career-best 10-fight win streak (six with CES MMA), Font will take a few days to let it all sink in following his week-long stay in Vegas and then get right back into the gym to prepare for his next fight, which could come as early as September when the UFC returns to Connecticut for the first time since 2005 with UFC Fight Night 50 on Sept. 5. Font even has his sights set on a potential opponent, calling out three-time UFC vet Sergio Pettis moments after beating Roop this past weekend.
The 20-year-old Pettis is the younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
“I had his last fight recorded before we left for Vegas, and I remember watching it thinking, ‘Man, that would be a great fight for me,’” Font said. “He’s got a big name because of his brother, but he’s real talented, so it’d be a great fight for the fans and a great fight for me. I think I’d run through him, honestly.”
Until then, Font is still basking in Saturday’s win, a debut that all but guarantees he will get the opportunity to become a household name with the UFC, which has always been more important to him than just simply making it to the big stage.
“[UFC president] Dana White pulled me to the side afterward and said, ‘I loved the way you fought out there,’ and told [head trainer] Mark [DellaGrotte], ‘I want to keep this kid busy,’” Font said. “It was a great feeling.”
Knowing he had to drop from 145 pounds to 135 for Saturday’s fight, Font initially worried about adjusting to the speed of his opponent until he learned he was fighting the 6-foot-1 Roop, a taller fighter with a slower delivery.
The height differential didn’t bother the 5-foot-8 Font, who made his name on the northeast circuit dominating taller opponents such as Saul Almeida (6-foot-1) and Tristan Johnson (5-foot-11) while fighting for CES MMA.
“The taller guys are actually a little slower,” Font said. “With the shorter guys, that’s when speed becomes a factor.
“I just had to close the distance. If you watch it again, he kind of grazed me with a baby left hook, but it was real wide. He caught me that one time and I figured if he threw it again I was going to pounce on him. It was just something I picked up on during the fight. His biggest weapon was mainly his kicks because he’s so tall and long. Once I found my range, I just jumped on him.”
Font braced himself for the typical pre-fight jitters generally associated with fighting on the big stage for the first time, but they never came. In fact, Font was worried he might be too calm or too confident as he loosed up backstage.
“It felt like nothing, like another day in the gym,” Font said. “Nothing fazed me. Not the cameras, not [cage announcer] Bruce Buffer, [color commentator] Joe Rogan, the lights, nothing. Everything went smoothly.
“It’s complete chaos,” he added. “Everything is bigger. They have 5,000 people at their weigh-in, but it’s organized. It runs smoothly. We checked in, went to the cage, warmed up, and before I knew it I was out there ready to fight.”
Font, as always, looked cool, calm and collected. Just another day at the office for the UFC’s newest star.
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