Nick Denis Expecting “Up and Down Battle” With Johnny Bedford
By Kelsey Mowatt
Following a successful UFC debut in January, the attention surrounding Nick Denis has ratcheted up a couple of notches, largely due of course to his ‘Knockout of the Night’ winning performance. Although the Canadian bantamweight has competed internationally before and scored a stoppage win while competing for Sengoku, his elbow driven KO of Joseph Sandoval has taken his career to a new level.
“One-hundred-percent,” said Denis, when asked if the 22 second bout led to more media requests. “Lots of interviews, radio, podcast requests, etc. It’s been great, but sometimes a bit too much. I wish I had more time sometimes.”
While Denis may be more of a familiar name to UFC fans now, his next opponent is also coming off a memorable Octagon debut and stint on the fourteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” At the upcoming May 5th, UFC on FOX 3 card in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Denis will face the veteran Johnny Bedford.
“I had a rough idea who he was,” Denis told FCF. “I didn’t follow The Ultimate Fighter, so I only realized who it was once I looked him up online.”
“This is probably the highest profile fight to date,” Denis added. “Mostly because it is a UFC fight, and since it is only my second, well, it doesn’t take too much too make it higher profile!”
At the TUF 14 Finale in December, Bedford (18-9) battered a game Louis Gaudinot throughout much of their bout, before finishing the fight in the third round.
“He’s a good fighter; is strong in all areas” Denis said about Bedford, who is 8-2 in his last 10 fights.”He has good wrestling, grappling and striking. He is also a tall one 135-er. His win over Louis Gaudinot, well, it was a complete domination. The two fighters were clearly very differently sized.”
It will be interesting to see what strategy the 5’10 tall Bedford tries to employ against the 5’6 Denis, who has recorded three knockouts and two TKO’s in his last five wins.
“I wouldn’t be surprised either way,” Denis said while discussing whether Bedford will look to stand and trade with the noted striker. “It will probably be an up and down battle I would have to guess. He seems quite comfortable standing or grappling.”
While Denis has a way to go before he’s in the title shot mix, one would think that a win over Bedford would say a lot about the 28 year-old-fighter’s prospects in the bantamweight division.
“A win over Bedford would put me somewhere between Bedford and Cruz,” said Denis, whose only defeats came against Marlon Sandro and Yuji Hoshino. “Where that exactly is, I really have no idea.
“I definitely don’t have a goal ‘rankings wise’, but hopefully one or two more fights in 2012, and always hoping for the best.”
To prepare for the bout, the former Ottawa resident continues to train out of the renowned Tristar Gym alongside several of Canada’s more notable competitors.
“I have moved, permanently, to Montreal,” Denis reported. “I have been training here at Tristar. I have been here for about seven weeks, and have another four or five until the fight. Things are great, there is an insane number of awesome guys here.”