UFC on FOX 3’s Roland Delorme: “It’s Easy To Be Hungry When You’re Starving”
By Tom Taylor
On May 5, at UFC on Fox 3, UFC bantamweight Roland “Stunning” Delorme (7-1) will enter the UFC’s Octagon for a second time as a late replacement for Johnny Bedford against Nick Denis (11-2). Delorme, who fights out of Winnipeg, Canada, was a competitor on the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Just shy of a fortnight from fight night, Delorme took time out of his schedule to speak to FCF about his upcoming clash with Denis.
Delorme was successful in his first UFC outing, submitting Josh Ferguson with a third round rear naked choke at The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale on December 3. Beginning his UFC career with a win was as perfect an outcome as he could have hoped for, he said.
“It was a great confidence builder,” he said. “It got me used to the whole event. It got me used to the all the aspects of a UFC event, where everything’s kind of different and everything’s kind of high pressure. Now, after getting that done, I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable in this next fight.
“In your first UFC fight, you really need to win. It’s a must-win situation. Maybe if you lose that, you don’t come back, maybe they cut you. Getting that first win makes me believe that I belong here.”
It had been over four months since that first fight when the UFC asked if he’d be willing to replace Bedford against Denis. Given the long layoff, Delorme did not hesitate.
“The UFC called me and asked me to take it. They wanted me to fight on the Montreal card in March, I think, but then that whole card got shut down because they couldn’t find a valid main event,” said Delorme. “I was kind of left in limbo a little bit, and I was training and training and waiting and hoping, so right away when they called and offered this fight, I jumped on it.”
Despite taking the fight on short notice, Delorme feels he will have sufficient time to prepare. In fact, a call to replace an injured fighter is an event that he always tries to be prepared for.
“I was in good shape before they called me, and it doesn’t take me long to get in fight shape from then. I try to stay in shape so that if I did get a short-notice call, I could take it, and that’s what happened.”
Against Denis, Delorme will face a talented striker with a proven resume. In Denis’s first UFC outing, he stopped Joseph Sandoval with standing elbows just 22 seconds into the first round. In fact, Denis has secured 10 of his 11 wins by knockout or technical knockout.
In light of these statistics, Delorme says he expects aggression from Denis on the feet.
“The guy’s got knockout power. If you look at any one of his fights, he brutally knocks guys out on a regular basis,” said Delorme. “I have to be prepared and aware of the fact that he’s got heavy hands, and if I don’t keep my hands up and my chin down, he’ll put me to sleep. I’m prepared for the fact that I might have to take a few lumps in this fight and that’s fine with me. I don’t mind taking a few punches.”
While he will have to be cautious of Denis’s stand-up abilities, Delorme believes that, on the flip side, his ground game is something Denis will need to be wary of.
“I’m sure he doesn’t want to be on the ground with me for too long. History tells that when guys go on the ground with me for too long, they usually get submitted. That’s obviously my strength and everybody knows it’s my strength. There’s no sugar-coating it. My ground game is where it’s at and I’m sure his game plan is to be on the ground as little as possible,” Delorme said.
Regardless of where the bout unfolds, however, he feels comfortable.
“I’m fine with wherever this fight goes. I’m prepared, and I think my hands are good enough to stand with him and I think my ground game is good enough to submit him.”
Given the wide array of skills between the two fighters, the likelihood of one man securing a knockout or submission of the night bonus, or both men being awarded a fight of the night bonus, are high. The extra payday that these awards entail is a significant motivator, Delorme says.
“A bonus like that would mean everything for me. Especially since I haven’t fought since December, I’m aching for a paycheck. It’s easy to be hungry when you’re starving.
“The fact of the matter is, I’ve never been in a boring fight,” continued Delorme. “Every time I fight in any other show, I always get sub of the night, fight of the night, something of the night, so why can’t I do that in the UFC?
“I’m going to fight like someone who needs the money. You know, I want it, but more than wanting it, I need it. I’ve got bills, I’ve got a mortgage, I’ve got to pay for shit. I’ve got to buy diapers and milk, you know? I’m fighting for milk at this point, and when someone has nothing to lose and everything to gain like that, they’re dangerous.”
Part of Delorme’s eagerness to take this fight on short notice is due to his familiarity with Denis.
“Nick Denis is from Canada too. I’ve wanted to fight Nick Denis for years. I’ve seen I don’t know how many of his fights and I know what he brings to the table. There are no surprises with him. He’s got heavy hands, a good ground game, and his wrestling is improving,” he said.
“I actually thought this fight would happen way before the UFC, and I wanted this fight before the UFC, but it never materialized for whatever various reasons.”
Despite this, Delorme says he was surprised when the UFC offered him the fight against Denis.
“When I got into the UFC, I thought I was past that. I thought I was past having to fight Canadians. I was looking forward to international competition,” Delorme said. “I was surprised when they offered me a fight with another Canadian, but I’m not going to say no. I need to get paid and I’m a fighter, so whatever. Whoever you want me to fight, if you’re signing my paycheck, just tell me who and where and I’ll show up.”
When the two bantamweights meet in the cage on May 5, Delorme believes his aggression will be the key to his victory.
“I’m coming to fight. I’m not the type of fighter who wants to dance around in the ring. I don’t like circling people and just staring at them and not throwing punches. When I get in the ring I bring it. I’m either going to win or get knocked out, and I’ve got no problem with that.”