Dana White: Ilir Latifi 'absolutely' will get another UFC fight after Sweden main event save

Copyright: Martin McNeil

Ilir Latifi earned his UFC dream shot the hard, and unorthodox, way. And for those reasons his mixed martial arts (MMA) dream will endure for at least one more fight and maybe more.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) opportunity knocked for Albanian-born Ilir Latifi less than one week ago and "The Sledge Hammer" didn't think twice about answering the call.

Even though he had just four days notice to cut 26 pounds for a fight against former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion -- and world-class mixed martial arts (MMA) standout -- Gegard Mousasi, in the reshuffled UFC on Fuel TV 9 main event. Not to mention he had to fill-in for his top-ranked training partner, Alexander Gustafsson, who was forced to withdraw because of a controversial cut.

No pressure!

Latifi managed to pull it off and even last three full rounds (albeit in defeat) opposite "Dream Catcher" against all odds; however, the insane turnaround and everything that went into last-second appearance already mentioned took its toll. Indeed, Latifi revealed at the UFC on Fuel TV 9 post-fight press conference (watch it here) that "the most intense week of his life" left him with zero energy to wrestle, which was perhaps his only path to unlikely upset victory.

He didn't defeat Mousasi, who was also not 100 percent, but Latifi did win the heart and mind of UFC President Dana White.

"Latifi comes in on four days notice, cuts the weight and takes on Gegard Mousasi, who is 33-3, while he is just 8-2," White said at the press conference. "But, he stays in there for three rounds against him … again, much respect to the guys in the main event."

When asked if Latifi had earned a future invitation back to the Octagon despite his lopsided debut loss, White quickly offered an unflinching, "Absolutely." And upon hearing the bold affirmation, it appeared that Latifi -- who was sitting to White's immediate right -- appeared to fight back the emotion.

UFC opportunity knocks but twice.

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