Craig names what means more to him in MMA than the title
UFC light heavyweight contender Paul Craig is aiming for a legacy that extends beyond title glory inside the Octagon.
Craig is currently in the best shape of his career on MMA’s biggest stage to date. Since a 2-5 run, which included defeats to Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield, the Scot has gone 5-0-1, with the only non-green column in that period being a draw against Maurício Rua, whom he has beaten later. in a rematch.
At the start of his latest outing, a clash against then-top 10 light heavyweight-ranked Nikita Krylov, at the UFC London event in March, it looked like Craig’s charge on the ladder was about to take place. to be blocked. But despite being beaten with ground and pound shots, “Bearjew” flipped the script in seconds with his trademark triangle choke.
Now, having extended his winning run and reached No. 8 in the 205-pound rankings, Craig has bid farewell to his previous early retirement plans and has set his sights on the throne. And given the rise of Magomed Ankalaev, whose only loss in professional MMA came against Craig, the 34-year-old Airdrie native certainly has a clear path to gold.
But while he certainly lays claim to that aspiration, there’s something above a crowning championship when it comes to how Craig wants to be remembered.
Craig: I want to be remembered for moments
During his appearance at the UFC media day in London on Wednesday, Craig discussed his goals and ambitions, as well as the kind of legacy he hopes to leave behind when he leaves the sport.
And more than just having a “former champ” tag attached to him, “Bearjew” wants to create memorable moments that won’t be forgotten.
“Yeah, I think (records and moments mean more). I mean, the title would be amazing because you’re in real history, but all that stuff, like, nobody remembers who the champion is. before,” Craig said. “I know the champion the last two times because I actually watch and I’m like, ‘I need to know who they are. But champions come and go.
“I’d like to be remembered for a few moments, rather than just having the title and then leaving at sunset. For me, it’s all about those moments: the last second (the wins ), get beaten and then come back — they’re worth more to me than gold,” Craig added.
It’s safe to say that Craig has already come a long way towards achieving this goal.
From his literal last-second win over Ankalaev and similar triumph over Krylov to the gruesome way he dislocated Jamahal Hill’s elbow to hand ‘Sweet Dreams’ their first loss last June, Craig is certainly far from forgettable.
He will be looking to add another moment to that list today when he returns to the O2 for his second London appearance of the year. In Craig’s way of another climb up the light heavyweight ladder, and possibly a third triangle victory in the English capital, will be former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir.
Do you see Paul Craig as a future UFC light heavyweight champion?