Jack Hermansson has been out of action for a few months, dealing with some injury woes. However he is set to get back to action in a freestyle wrestling match later this month, and hopes to return to the Octagon at the beginning of the year.
While he has traded wins and losses in his last few fights, Hermansson is still one of the top middleweight contenders in the world. This was evidenced by his last bout, which saw him dominate highly touted prospect Edmen Shahbazyan en route to a unanimous decision win, in May.
Now he is set to return against another red hot prospect, in the form on Khamzat Chimaev, except this will be a freestyle wrestling match instead of a UFC fight. Speaking to MiddleEasy, he explained that he was down to do this when approached by Khamzat’s management, but that he wanted to make sure that there was an official winner by the end of it, rather than the bout just be an exhibition style match, for fun.
“Well, it started with Khamzat’s manager contacting my manager and was asked if I was interested to do a freestyle bout. At first, it was actually meant to be just a show bout, then I said ‘Yeah, let’s do it, but let’s make it a real fight instead, with a winner and everything.’ I think that’s a little bit more exciting for the fans. I certainly wouldn’t tune into a show bout, it’s much more exciting if the guys really are battling for something,” Hermansson said.
“I think they wanted to make something that would hype the fans in the Nordic countries, since we are maybe the biggest names in the UFC, in Scandinavian countries right now. So I think they were thinking that was going to excite the fans.”
Reacting To Khamzat Chimaev’s UFC Return
Jack Hermansson will be facing Khamzat Chimaev in a wrestling match, but the two are more equipped to throw down in the Octagon. In fact, Khamzat just returned to action after a year away, continuing the momentum he started when he first signed with the UFC by swiftly submitting Li Jingliang in the first round.
Jack was quite impressed with this performance, and the ease with which he was able to get the submission. However he is not too worried about how this will translate into their wrestling match, knowing that this is a different ruleset than MMA.
“I think it’s really, really cool that he managed to keep the hype going, and another extremely dominant performance like this is only going to make him grow as a star, and it’s really cool to see where he’s going at the moment. Very impressive,” Hermansson said.
“I have a Greco Roman background, Khamzat has a freestyle background, so obviously he’s more used to fighting under these kinds of rules. My freestyle wrestling comes from my MMA training, so that’s where I have it from. I should match up pretty well, at least I believe so. We’ll see when we fight, but I think I match up pretty well with him.”
Jack Hermansson Down To Scrap With Sean Strickland
Recently another middleweight contender by the name of Sean Strickland was left looking for an opponent, after Luke Rockhold was forced out of their fight at UFC 268. Jack Hermansson said that the UFC approached him for this fight, but that he was having some health issues that he had been dealing with, so good training was not where it needed to be for a short notice fight.
That said, he would down to have this bout at the beginning of the year, in January. He says that the antics from Sean, which have made him somewhat notorious at this point, are genuinely who he is, rather than an act like some people in the UFC put on.
“We will see what is going to happen and what the UFC thinks, but I definitely feel like I should be ready in January… I think I matchup well against him. He’s a pressure fighter, he’s well conditioned and I feel like a lot of his wins are because he breaks his opponent’s will,” Hermansson said.
“There’s a lot of guys out there who have weird personalities for the cameras. They want to create some hype, but I don’t think Strickland is that guy. I think he’s crazy for real, I don’t think that’s something he makes up, I think that’s just who he is.”
Jack Hermansson will be back in action on November 19th for his freestyle wrestling match with Khamzat Chimaev. It will be interesting to see what comes of that, and who he faces next in the Octagon.