OTTAWA, Ont. – As Elias Theodorou prepares for the biggest challenge of his career, “The Mane Event” is extremely confident that his skill set and mentality will lead him to a fourth consecutive victory.
Theodorou will fight in the co-main event of Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship card at the Canadian Tire Centre, against the number nine ranked middleweight (185 lbs), Derek Brunson.
It is a fight between polar opposites, and the Mississauga native believes that his calculated approach will help him prevail over the more reckless Brunson.
“In many ways I think our styles couldn’t be more opposite. He’s someone who’s aggressive right off the bat, where I’m more cerebral in finding ways to win,” said Theodorou to reporters at UFC media day. “He lives by the sword and dies by the sword.
“That’s going to be a tough first five minutes, but from there I’m going to show him the difference between chess and checkers.”
Brunson, who enters Saturday’s event on a two-fight losing streak, is known as one of the division’s most explosive fighters, as his last six wins have come by knockout. However, Theodorou is not concerned and believes his methodical game plan will help him emerge victorious.
“I try to be cerebral as possible and find ways to win. I’ll enter the octagon smarter and I’ll exit smarter,” said the Canadian. “He’s an emotional fighter, whereas I use my brain.
“I’m on a three-fight winning streak and after Saturday, he’ll be on a three-fight losing streak.”
Though effective, Theodorou’s methodical style has drawn criticism from fans and opponents due to the perception that his fights lack excitement. Regardless of popularity, the 30-year-old knows that his style is what will continue to bring him success in a dangerous and talented division.
“There are many different types of fighters out there. There are many different types of fans. I have my own ability inside the octagon to showcase who I am,” said Theodorou. “A lot of [opponents] have the boxed in look in regards to martial arts, whereas I like to paint outside the box.
“Maybe not everyone appreciates it, but I appreciate those that do.”
Popular or not, Theodorou has found plenty of success fighting his way. Two weeks ago, he celebrated the fifth anniversary of winning “The Ultimate Fighter”, the UFC’s tournament style reality show, which earned him a contract with the promotion.
With a win on Saturday, the TUF winner would likely enter the top-10, putting him one step closer to his dream of winning a UFC title.
With the retirement of Canadian mixed martial arts legend Georges St. Pierre, Theodorou has become the UFC’s most recognized and accomplished Canadian fighter. Though he hasn’t quite gotten used to the idea, the confident fighter is ready to take the mantle in front of his home crowd.
“Obviously hearing that out loud I pinch myself because I started as a fan first,” said Theodorou. “Every time I step in that octagon I’m not just fighting for myself, I’m fighting for my team but also for my country.
“I do it as a proud Canadian and I look forward to taking a picture with that flag after [the fight].”