Norman Parke will compete in his first fight on his new UFC contract in London at the end of February next year.
The Bushmills MMA star was added to the bill last week and will now fight Jackson-Wink fighter, Rustam Khabilov, at their first card in the English capital since March, 2014.
“I said to Joe Silva I would love to fight in London, he got back to me pretty quick and said I need someone to fight Khabilov, and I was like ‘yeah no problem’,” said Parke.
“So I signed the contract and sent it back.
“I have been watching him up until his last couple of losses, he looked really good.
“But his last two fights, those losses came against southpaws. There’s something I see where I can beat him.
“I see there’s some holes in his game. I don’t think he’s going to come out desperate. I think it’s going to be a stand-up fight, to be honest.
“His last fight in Brazil was a pretty tough fight.”
Ironically Khabilov finds himself in the same position Parke was in at the UFC Fight in Dublin in October.
The Northern Irishman was standing on the precipice heading into the fight.
He’d lost his previous two fights and was in serious danger of being handed his walking papers by the UFC brass had he lost a third straight contest.
But he got back into the win column with a solid, if unspectacular performance to claim a straightforward decision victory over the returning Reza Madadi.
“Although there was pressure you have to hide it.
“The two fights I lost were close fights, I would have felt worse if I had been completely dominated or knocked out.
“So despite the pressure of that I was still pretty confident I was going to get the job done, especially being on home soil.
“I just had to dig deep and overcome it .
“It was just important for me to get the win.
“It wasn’t a great performance, but there was a lot of pressure going into the fight because if you lose three in a row you could possibly get cut.
“I did enough to get the job done and that was it.”
Parke was rewarded for his win in Dublin with a new contract, and he is hoping to fight three times next year.
“I got nine fights as part of my Ultimate Fighter contract and I had two fights left on my contract,” Parke explained.
“I said to Joe Silva that I would love to fight in London.
“He offered me the fight with Khabilov, and then he got back to me again after the Rhonda Rousey fight in Australia.
“He said to me he was taking the two fights remaining and giving me four more fights at better pay.
“I don’t think any fighter would refuse it to be honest, so I was like ‘no problem I’ll take it’.
“So the fight in London will be the first of a four fight deal.
“Whenever I joined the UFC I said I would love to fight three times a year, but I know I had niggly injuries after certain fights, so it has held me back a wee bit.
“I would love to fight three times next year.”