Dan Ige Discusses Bryce Mitchell, His Controversial DWCS Snub, and the UFC Featherweight Champion Who Can Be Defeated

At long last, Dan Ige finally gets to step into the cage with Bryce Mitchell next week.

The two have been talking up a potential fight for years, and it finally is set for UFC Fight Night 227’s co-main event in Las Vegas.

Mitchell (15-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) is just the latest in a string of featherweight standouts to get in the cage with Ige (17-6 MMA, 9-5 UFC), who hasn’t gotten any favors from the UFC’s matchmakers. Consecutively, he’s fought Kevin Aguilar, Mirsad Bektic, Edson Barboza, Calvin Kattar, Gavin Tucker, Chan Sung Jung, Josh Emmett, Movsar Evloev, Damon Jackson and Nate Landwehr.

To put that list of names in perspective, the combined records of the 15 opponents Ige has been matched up with in the UFC when they’ve stepped into the cage with him, including Mitchell next week, is 248-54-1. That’s an .821 winning percentage and an average record of roughly 16-3.

And sometimes, it might feel to Ige like he’s being overlooked. Even going back to 2017, he won on Dana White’s Contender Series by submission, but didn’t get a contract. He could let that motivate him, but he’s over it.

“For me, it’s all perspective,” Ige recently told MMA Junkie Radio. “It’s one of those things you could use as fuel – put that chip on your shoulder like, ‘Man, I didn’t get picked.’ But I have almost 15 fights now in the UFC – I’m far past it. Honestly, I’m a little guilty – I haven’t even watched one episode of the Contender Series this season. I’ve just been so busy. I’m focused on myself. But I’m grateful. I’ve been in this game for a minute. I’ve made over $1 million fighting in the UFC. I’m grateful. I’m blessed.”

Ige, 31, will be looking to extend his winning streak to three. He had a rough patch of three consecutive losses and four setbacks in five fights, all by decision. But in 2023, he’s back on track after a bonus-winning knockout of Jackson and a decision over Landwehr.

A third straight win over a name the caliber of Mitchell, who will be trying to bounce back from the first loss of his career, could have Ige starting to sniff the title picture.

Mitchell is a slight favorite in the fight, but Ige said he’ll be prepared to be busy no matter where the fight goes.

“Mitchell’s good at what he does when he gets on top – his top pressure. His wrestling game, I think, is really underrated. He doesn’t have really pretty wrestling, but he can fight from long, extended positions and find a way to get the takedown, get the body lock, get the back,” Ige said. “… I think people underestimate his standup a little bit. His standup’s real herky-jerky – weird timing, but he hurts guys. He hurt Edson Barboza on the feet, so it’s not one of those fights of, ‘Just don’t get taken down and you win.’ You’ve got to be cautious and mindful everywhere the fight goes.”

And maybe then, with a win, Ige will start thinking longer term title aspirations. He thinks current champion Alexander Volkanovski is dominant – but not invincible.

“I think Alex Volkanovski is obviously one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world,” Ige said. “I don’t think about that, like he’s unbeatable. He’s 100 percent beatable – he has lost before. I think it was his first fight, and he’s won every (featherweight) one since. But he’s beatable. It’s the right strategy and the right timing.

“Right now, it’s not my time. It’s not my time to be the one to beat him. But when my time does come, that’s something I can focus on.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 227.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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