Morgan Charriere expresses ‘weird feelings’ of fighting at UFC Apex after debuting in front of 15,000 in France

LAS VEGAS – Morgan Charriere is torn about his first UFC fight on American soil.

In his second UFC fight, Charriere (19-9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will compete in the U.S. for the first time in his pro career, taking on Chepe Mariscal at UFC Fight Night 240 at the UFC Apex. The 28-year-old Frenchman had a debut to remember in September, recording a first-round finish in front of a lively home crowd.

Charriere knows it will be tough to top the full experience of his debut and the performance that he displayed, but he plans to continue hunting for exciting finishes and hopes to score another against Mariscal (15-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC).

“That’s really hard to top that,” Charriere told reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “I just try to really stay focused and I’m not trying to top my last performances. Like, ‘OK, this fight has been done, it was a really great performance.’ No, I’m just sticking to my plan, to my training. If the next fight, or so this fight, can get better – I don’t think so, because it’s really hard – it would be great. But otherwise, as long as I win the fight, it’s good for me. I’m just trying to win it in a great way, with a great finish. … It will be another great performance, but top the Paris performance? Really hard.”

Charriere could, in theory, match the outcome of what happens inside the cage. However, the atmosphere surrounding the octagon will be guaranteed to be different at the UFC Apex. The few hundred people watching will pale compared to a sold-out Accor Arena in Paris, France, with over 15,000 fans in September.

“I’ve thought about that, we’ve talked about this with my team, but I have a lot of experience,” Charriere said when asked about preparing for the different atmosphere. ” I’ve fought a lot in Cage Warriors during COVID, I had the world title during COVID, so I’m used to empty venues. It’s not the first time. I think I had maybe three fights in an empty venue with really small (amount of) people.

“… I know what will happen on Saturday with the atmosphere, but yeah, it will be weird because my last fight, it was in Paris, and it was a crazy crowd.”

Charriere’s mixed feelings about fighting at the UFC Apex match the sentiment of many of his peers on the roster. Fighting under the promotion’s big three letters is a good thing for most, regardless of the venue. However, some fighters want the energy and excitement of a full arena. Groans from fighters and fans about UFC Apex, which has hosted over than half of the promotion’s events since the COVID-19 pandemic, have been growing louder as of late.

“I’m excited, but you know, I love to fight in front of a crowd,” Charriere said. “So it’s like, I’m excited, but there’s this thing like – ahh, I’m in the Apex. There’s not so much people. So, it’s weird feelings. Like, I’m happy to be there, to be fighting for the UFC, to have all this stuff. To have been to the UFC PI was crazy, but I love crowds. I love to put on a show, so that’s what I will miss in this fight.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 240.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie