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Bryan Battle poses for a portrait backstage during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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Bryan Battle Wants To Flex On Everyone

Now Known As "The Butcher," Bryan Battle Hopes To Make A Clear Statement At UFC Fight Night: Tuivasa vs Tybura

A lot has changed since Bryan Battle won The Ultimate Fighter 29 title in 2021. New nickname, new hairstyle, and, oh yeah, a new reputation.

No longer is the blond-haired “Butcher” an overlooked and underrated kid from North Carolina, trying to make a name for himself in the big show. Instead, as he approaches his Saturday bout with Ange Loosa at the UFC APEX, the 29-year-old is in a co-main event and on the verge of having the biggest year of his pro career.

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Just like he drew it up.

Bryan Battle celebrates his KO victory over Gabe Green in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Bryan Battle celebrates his KO victory over Gabe Green in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Spectrum Center on May 13, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I'm ‘The Butcher’ now,” laughed the artist formerly known as “Pooh Bear.” “I'm killing people.”

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He is. Not in a literal sense, but in sanctioned combat, where he has won five of six fights at the highest level of the sport. It’s something that wasn’t expected from a fighter who didn’t come from an MMA hotbed or a big gym. But Battle has done it, and he’s stayed true to his roots the whole way with head coach Tom Ziegler in his corner.

“I would say one of the biggest things that people can take away from that and something that I've seen personally is that a lot of times people move gyms because they feel like there's something there they can't obtain where they're at,” Battle explains. “And yes, at the big gyms you got a lot more bodies, you got high-level coaches and whatnot. But, a lot of the time, what people are missing is that inner drive and inner push for self-improvement. Just because you're training with world champions doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a world champion. They're a world champion because they worked hard, and they did the things that needed to be done.”

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Like BB King once sang, Battle is paying the cost to be the boss, and as the wins have piled up, he hasn’t strayed from the course. He’s still far away from the big gyms, still putting in long hours, and still confident that everything he believes is his will soon be in his hands. He’s just got to do his part.

“My coach, he knows me, he knows when I'm off, he knows when I'm tired, and when I shouldn't be tired,” said Battle. “He knows all the people I work with, so if I'm skipping sessions, he'll know If I'm skipping boxing sessions, he'll know if I'm skipping jiu jitsu sessions. So there's an amount of accountability that comes with it. For me, personally, it keeps me humble. It keeps me from getting too big of a head and I'm still getting better. So that's the one thing I would say: if you're still getting better, there's no need to go anywhere else. A lot of times your problems are within; they’re not exterior problems, they're interior problems.”

Tuivasa vs Tybura Main Event Breakdown

Entering his bout with Loosa, Battle is clearly getting better. Since his lone UFC loss to Rinat Fakhretdinov, he’s won two straight, knocking out Gabe Green and submitting AJ Fletcher. And while the talent has always been there, now Battle fights with the confidence befitting someone on the verge of getting into the welterweight rankings. How confident is he? He can tell you.

Three of the Baddest Bryan Battle Moments
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Three of the Baddest Bryan Battle Moments
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“I’ll tell you what, I don't just believe I belong here; I'm kind of insulted with where I'm at,” said Battle. “After this fight, I think I should be headlining Fight Nights. I should be on pay-per-view. I haven't just been here for three years. I'm 5-1, and every fight camp I had more than 14 days to prepare for, and two good knees, I've won, and usually in fashion. So I'm definitely going into this fight not just to let people know I'm here, I'm in the UFC, but to make a statement with this fight, really put my stamp on things and let people know that I'm here to make noise and to do something.”

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And what could be louder than stopping a fighter who has never been stopped?

Bryan Battle Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Tuivasa vs Tybura
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Bryan Battle Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Tuivasa vs Tybura
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“I got this fight, and this is an opportunity,” he said. “I'm fighting someone who I think is also highly underrated. I would say he's probably the best person I fought since I've been in the UFC.  And that's an opportunity for me to make a big statement. He's never been finished in his professional career. He fought someone like Jack Della Maddalena, and Jack couldn't get him out of there. What does that mean if I get him out of there? So that's how I view it. I don't try to worry about why people make the decisions they make. I just think, okay, when I get my opportunity, I'm going to go out there and I'm going to flex on everybody so that everything on my end, I'm going to put the ball in their court. I'm not going to leave anything left in the cage to wonder about after it's all said and done.” 

 

UFC Fight Night: Tuivasa vs Tybura took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 16, 2024. See the final Prelims and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass