주요 콘텐츠로 건너뛰기
Joaquin Buckley trains in Paris France on August 31 2022. (Photo by Zac Pacleb/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Joaquin Buckley Brings It Back Home

Explosive St Louis Star Talks Move To Welterweight, Saturday Bout vs Andre Fialho

When Joaquin Buckley signed with Legacy Fighting Alliance in the fall of 2019, it became a reset point in the St. Louis-born fighter’s career, complete with a shift in nicknames.

“I always went as ‘Young Buck’ when I was younger,” began the always animated Buckley. ”I was younger at the time, my last name is Buckley; so I picked a simple name. But I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to grow up with this nickname; eventually I’m going to have to pick something different.’

“I was looking around, messing with these stupid-*** names like ‘Pitbull’ and ‘Punisher’ and ‘Dominator,’ and I wasn’t really messing with them because they’re all generic; somebody else already has those goofy names.

“So I decided to do my history, some homework on some great, powerful leaders, and I ran up on this guy named Mansa Musa, from the early 14th, 15th century. He was the richest man of all time, at one point, and I was like, ‘I’m trying to go for that.’ I’m about the gold, I want to be rich, and I also want to be king one day, so why not ‘New Mansa,’ since mansa means sultan in the Mali language.”

Joaquin Buckley knocks out Impa Kasanganay in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Joaquin Buckley knocks out Impa Kasanganay in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


New nickname selected, Buckley embarked on a move to a new weight class, as well, venturing to the middleweight ranks, where he registered a pair of finishes, earning himself the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in the sport. Over his first nine fights, Buckley amassed a 5-4 record, registering highlight reel wins over Impa Kasanganay, Jordan Wright, and Antonio Arroyo while dropping matchups with Kevin Holland, Alessio Di Chirico, and Nassourdine Imavov.

Last time out, “New Mansa” was knocked out by Chris Curtis, and soon after, he decided it was again time for a change.

While the nickname is staying as is, Buckley is returning to the welterweight division, where he takes on Andre Fialho in a guaranteed banger as part of this weekend’s Fight Night event at the UFC APEX.

Saturday's Full Fight Card Breakdown

“S***!” he began, drawing out the four-letter word like Senator Clay Davis on The Wire when asked the reason behind relocating to the 170-pound weight class. “Getting knocked out again! They hit too hard at 185!

Laughter fills the line before Buckley carries on.

“I’m keepin’ it a buck, you know?! I’m going back home, where I should have been.

Joaquin Buckley: The Kick Heard Around The World
fight pass logo
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!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Joaquin Buckley: The Kick Heard Around The World
/

“Even if I get more wins at the 185 division, I’m probably going to catch more losses,” he continued, delving deeper in the logic behind his decision to switch divisions. “I’m not trying to be no 50/50 fighter because I’m not a 50/50 fighter. Right now, my record in the UFC is 5-4 — f*** that! I’m better than that!

“Let me show you what I can do with somebody my size, my height, my range, my length and everything. Watch what I do to him. I gave a lot of guys problems at 185 — you can only imagine what I’m gonna do to them at 170.”

It’s near impossible to argue with Buckley’s thinking, given that despite being a plus athlete and built like he was sculpted out of Italian marble, his relatively short stature compared to his taller, rangier counterparts made it increasingly difficult for him to deploy his considerable weapons consistently and effectively as a middleweight.

Fight Pass Invitational Returns To Vegas June 29

There were certainly positive moments — his knockout win over Kasanganay remains one of the most insane finishes in UFC history — but as he worked his way higher up the competitive ladder, the margin for error decreased and more ticks in the loss column appeared.

Stuck in a two-fight skid, but buzzing with excitement to begin the next chapter of his career, Buckley returns to welterweight, where he built an 8-3 record in the early days of his career, and should be able to find more success facing off with opponents more closer to his size.

Joaquin Buckley Delivers Another Spectacular Knockout | UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Spann
fight pass logo
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!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Joaquin Buckley Delivers Another Spectacular Knockout | UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Spann
/

“Now, with me going down to 170, there are going to be bigger opportunities, in my opinion,” offered Buckley, who got the call to face Fialho roughly six weeks ago, while he was staying ready at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, trying to land himself a short-notice opportunity against someone in the rankings. “If people think I did great stuff at 185 — wait ’til 170.”

While the condensed timetable for this fight might frustrate some, the energetic Buckley said it was more than enough notice for him to prepare for this contest, especially given that he’s tried to share the cage with Fialho before in the past.

FREE FIGHTS: Dern vs Markos | Hill vs Ducote

“I knew about Andre long before; we were both in Bellator around the same time,” said Buckley, explaining the previous history he has with the man he’ll face on Saturday. “When I was ‘Young Buck,’ I was calling his *** out, but it was crickets. Guess what, though? Things come full circle. I didn’t have to call him out.

“The UFC brought him back to me, and I think this fight is a banger.”

It’s again difficult to dispute Buckley’s assessment, as 17 of his 21 career fights have ended inside the distance, including 11 of his 15 victories, while Fialho sports 13 finishes in 15 career wins, with four of his six setbacks coming without the aid of the judges.

Joaquin Buckley reacts after defeating Albert Duraev of Russia in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center on June 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Joaquin Buckley reacts after defeating Albert Duraev of Russia in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center on June 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)


In addition to their shared “finish or be finished” approach to things, Fialho also enters the Octagon on a two-fight losing streak, having suffered consecutive stoppage losses to Jake Matthews and Muslim Salikhov after starting his UFC tenure with a good showing against Michel Pereira on short notice and back-to-back first-round finishes over Miguel Baeza and Cameron VanCamp.

"We’re both fighting for our jobs; I don’t give a f*** what nobody says,” Buckley said, the energy in his voice reverberating through the phone. “We’re fighting for a contract like Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.”

We again laugh in unison, once again brought there by his frank and direct assessment of his own situation.

“The one thing about me that is different from other fighters is that I keep it a hundred with myself, all around the board,” he said, explaining his uncommon directness. “I’m not playing around and beating around the bush. We’re fighting for a job, so let’s see who wants this more.”

Power Slap 2 Happening May 24 | Power Slap 1 Rewind

The last time Buckley was in this position — starting fresh in a new weight class — he registered a first-round stoppage win in 68 seconds.

So how does he envision things going this time around?

“I’m gonna knock that boy out!” He declared. “I won’t lie to you: this gonna be bad. I’m gonna sing that boy a lullaby.

“He gotta go.”

 

UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Hill took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 20, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!