Calvin Kattar Doesn't Care About Opponents, Just Wants to Fight

April 10, 2024

Athlete Studio

Calvin Kattar finds excitement in every fight, regardless of the opponent.

His upcoming return at UFC 300 holds special significance, not because he's facing former bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling in the featherweight division, but because it marks his first fight since a torn ACL abruptly ended his bout with Arnold Allen in October 2022.

"I never put too much thought out there on what I'm expecting," Kattar expressed on The MMA Hour. "I can't control all the bulls***. I just try to stay as ready as possible. I knew the next one was going to be big, no matter who I was stepping across from. I feel like the last two fights were kind of tough for me, where the last one was an injury, and the one prior I felt like I won."

Kattar's focus remains on returning strongly, aiming to erase the frustration of his recent outings. Reflecting on the opportunity to fight on the historic UFC 300 card, he acknowledges the significance, likely facilitated by agreeing to face Sterling in his featherweight debut. However, for Kattar, the priority is washing away the bitter taste of his previous performance.

"Not much, to be honest," Kattar responded regarding his reaction to Sterling as an opponent. "A little bit [surprised] in the fact that he's a former champ, and that's great, and you need tough opposition to get these big moment opportunities. Shout out to him for making this fight happen on such a historic card."

Sterling enters the bout coming off his first loss in nearly six years, a knockout defeat to Sean O'Malley at UFC 292 for the bantamweight title. Despite the surprising outcome, Kattar respects O'Malley's skills and acknowledges the potential challenges Sterling poses.

"I think Sean looked really good," Kattar commented on the fight. "I thought Aljo would have made it a little bit more of a dog fight. But hey, that's the way it worked out."

Returning from a significant knee injury that sidelined him for over a year, Kattar remains focused on himself rather than Sterling. However, he recognizes the threat his heavy hands and potential size and power advantage pose to Sterling, akin to O'Malley's impact in their bout.

"You've got to be prepared for the best version," Kattar emphasized regarding Sterling. "A lot of people would say 'oh a year and a half, you must have some ring rust.' You put too much stock in that Aljo? Who gives a s***? What's going to matter is on fight night and it can go one of two ways."

Despite the attention on Sterling leading up to UFC 300, Kattar's primary concern is his comeback from injury.

"Big opportunity obviously," Kattar acknowledged. "But coming off a year and almost a half layoff, the next fight was big to me no matter who I was stepping across from and no matter what card I was on. Big moment for me to come back after a long layoff. Excited to put on a hell of a performance."

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