Rising UFC featherweight contender Jason Knight is hoping to put a loss to Ricardo Lamas behind him tomorrow night (Sat., Dec. 9, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 123 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., when he takes on Mexican finisher Gabriel Benitez in the co-main event.
Knight, who lost to Lamas after filling in for an injured Chan Sung Jung at UFC 214 this past July, has become one of the more entertaining fighters to watch. His brawling tendencies and gritty attitude have led to comparisons to Nick and Nate Diaz, which in turn has left Knight with a rather catchy moniker.
“I like it,” Knight said about his “Hick Diaz” nickname in a recent interview with UFC.com.
“Some people might get offended if you call them a ‘hick’ or something like that but man, I embrace that. I was born in the South, raised up as country as can be and it doesn’t really bother me. Every chance I get I’m out there mud riding on my four-wheeler or out in the woods hunting, so it really doesn’t bother me none.”
While Knight has a long way to go before stacking his resume up against that of the Diaz brothers, two Performance of the Night awards over his last three Octagon appearances leads us to believe the Mississippi native is already on his way.
“The Diaz Brothers have always been some of my favorite fighters, guys I looked up to,” Knight revealed. “They don’t give a damn what you think about them. They’re going to go out there and fight their asses off and win, lose or draw, they’re going to talk sh*t and have a blast while they’re doing it.
“That’s the way that I am and that’s the way I like to be too. If you’re going to beat me in a fight, I bet you can’t beat me in a sh*t-talking match while we’re fighting; that’s kind of how I am. They’re my kind of people and it doesn’t bother me one bit to get compared to them.”
Knight is not exaggerating. The 25-year-old featherweight contender has been known to chirp quite heavily at opponents mid-fight, whether he was winning or not. Things shouldn’t change for “Hick Diaz” when he gets his hands on Benitez tomorrow night in Fresno.
“I’ve worked my ass off for this fight and I’m ready to go,” Knight said. “I’m gonna show the fans why I deserve to be in the Top 15 and show Sean Shelby why my next fight should be against one of those guys that’s on up the ladder instead of someone that’s way, way out of the rankings.
“They might have given me this fight as a comeback fight – and that’s no disrespect to Gabriel Benitez, who I know is going to be a very tough fight – but I don’t want to be fighting guys out of the Top 15 now. I want to fight whoever gets me closer to the title. I’m gonna go out here and fight my heart out so I can get closer to that belt.”
UFC Fight Night 123 will be headlined by a featherweight matchup pitting veteran Cub Swanson against undefeated contender Brian Ortega.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 123 fight card, starting with the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.