Dan Ige is hoping a potentially once-in-a-career opportunity will give him an extra boost this week.
Ige (17-7 MMA, 9-6 UFC) takes on Andre Fili (23-10 MMA, 11-9 UFC) in the UFC Fight Night 236 (ESPN+) featherweight co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. A couple fights prior to that, fellow Hawaiian Brad Tavares will fight Gregory Rodrigues. The chance to fight on the same show is a unique one for the friends.
Ige gave Tavares much credit for helping him get on his feet when he first moved to Las Vegas to train.
“When I moved to Vegas, Brad was the first guy – he opened up his couch. I had no money. I slept on his couch,” Ige said at Wednesday’s media day. “(I) literally walked into his house, spilled my whole jar of chia seeds all over the house, and he is like, ‘What the f*ck are chia seeds?’ I’m like, ‘Ah, dude, they’re healthy. I don’t know.’ And he’s like, ‘You f*cking dumbass. You spilled chia seeds everywhere.’ I’m pretty sure he still has chia seeds in his house.
“Me and Brad are on the (video game joy)sticks every night. That’s my self care. It’s nice to reminisce and just look back at those little things and just make each other laugh and think about the good times, because the good times always last. I’m grateful. I may never, ever get a chance to compete on the same card with him again, so I’m taking it all in and we’re looking to go out there and do some big things.”
Ige was set to fight Lerone Murphy, but now meets Fili, who stepped up on about three weeks’ notice for the fight. He’ll be trying to bounce back from a decision loss to Bryce Mitchell in September 2023 that snapped a two-fight winning streak.
Ige is a -175 betting favorite against Fili, who is working off a first-round knockout of Lucas Almeida less than two months ago.
Check out Ige’s full interview in the video above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 236.