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Josefine Knutsson of Sweden poses for a portrait after her victory during the Noche UFC event at T-Mobile Arena on September 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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Josefine Knutsson Is Calm, Cool And Collected

Strawweight Josefine Knutsson Is Eager To Secure Her Second UFC Win At UFC Fight Night: Perez vs Taira

The whole spectrum of emotions can run through a fighter as the hours and minutes count down for their walk to the Octagon. Whether it’s nerves, extreme focus, anxiousness or something in between, that pre-fight energy hits each athlete in a unique way and, at times, it can vary fight to fight. For Josefine Knutsson, however, she finds herself eerily calm.

She was so calm ahead of her UFC debut at Noche UFC that it sort of caught her by surprise, but after 15 minutes of work, she found herself with her hand raised, maintaining her undefeated record.

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“I get scary calm sometimes,” Knutsson told UFC.com. “I sometimes get a little bit worried. Like, is it normal that I'm getting so calm? But I think that's a sign that I'm ready. It's been my goal for a long time to just come into the UFC, and now here I am. I just want to take that opportunity and make the best of it. I think that's the thing that makes me feel more secure in myself and more confident, even though I'm screaming inside and really excited.”

Josefine Knutsson of Sweden punches Marnic Mann in a strawweight fight during the Noche UFC event at T-Mobile Arena on September 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Josefine Knutsson of Sweden punches Marnic Mann in a strawweight fight during the Noche UFC event at T-Mobile Arena on September 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“Thunder” hoped to parlay her debut win over Marnic Mann into some momentum with another bout and win, but the way things shook out, she is only now getting her chance at a sophomore walk to the Octagon.

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The wait wasn’t ideal, especially after having to pull out of a March date, but she used the time to get sharper ahead of her date with Julia Polastri at UFC Fight Night: Perez vs Taira.

“I feel like I've been locked up in the gym for a long time,” she said. “I had reasons why I couldn't do my fight in March, but I'm much stronger now.”

Strawweight Josefine Knutsson trains ahead of Noche UFC. (Photo by Zac Pacleb / Zuffa LLC)
Strawweight Josefine Knutsson trains ahead of Noche UFC. (Photo by Zac Pacleb / Zuffa LLC)

One of the ways in which she feels stronger is in her flexibility. She tempered expectations, so don’t expect her to hit pre-fight splits a la Muhammad Mokaev any time soon, but she is excited to get back in the Octagon.

It won’t be her first trip in the UFC APEX, either. She competed and won on an episode of Dana White’s Contender Series in August 2023, but she ultimately was not awarded a contract. She used that moment as a lesson, and when the call eventually came from the mixed martial arts leader, she went through “a rollercoaster” of emotions. Ultimately, though, she knew she was ready for her moment.

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Knutsson doesn’t want to turn into a one-win wonder, however. She knows she has a well-rounded opponent in Polastri, a UFC debutant with three submissions and four knockouts to her name. Although Knutsson believes in her own skills on the mat, she identifies as a striker and feels most at home on her feet. She leaves the game planning to her coaches while she focuses on executing on all the training she put in over the last few months, including things she learned from her first UFC fight week. 

Josefine Knutsson trains at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 13, 2023. (Photo by Zac Pacleb/Zuffa LLC)
Josefine Knutsson trains at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 13, 2023. (Photo by Zac Pacleb/Zuffa LLC)

“I just want to take it all in,” Knutsson said. “For me, the biggest lesson was probably to be present and be in the moment. That's it. That's what I would say. When I enter the cage, it's the same thing. We have a game plan, and we have a strategy, but, at the same time, we have to be so ready for everything because everything can happen in a fight.”

Even though it’s only her second walk, the 28-year-old out of Sweden has her eyes set on the top of the weight class. She knows it will take time, but building to those bigger opportunities only excites her more.

“I want the strawweight division to be ready,” she said. “I'm really new in the UFC, but I think they're going to get the big surprise because I'm going to climb up faster than they think. So just be ready.”

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UFC Fight Night: Perez vs Taira took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 15, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass