While his bout against Melvin Guillard in January at Bellator 171 didn’t go as well as he would have liked, welterweight veteran Chidi Njokuani is nonetheless happy to have gotten a unanimous decision win.
Fighting on short notice and at a catchweight heavier than he usually competes, Njokuani wasn’t able to bring the kind of fight he normally does, but a win is a win in his eyes.
“I feel like I didn’t perform as well I could have performed,” Njokuani told MMAWeekly.com. “I had the gas take to hurt him and to keep him hurt, but I didn’t have the gas tank to finish him. I was kind of disappointed, but other than that, my performance was difference.
“(The heavier weight) didn’t matter as much because the opponent was still smaller than me. He was coming from 155-pounds. I guess I didn’t feel as explosive as normal, but it didn’t really affect me that much.”
The fact that he won while being critical of his performance is nothing new for Njokuani. Both he and his team tend to pick apart everything he does, even if he fights well.
“I’m probably my biggest critic, so there’s a lot I know I need to work on and get better,” said Njokuani. “But if it’s not me (pointing out what needs work) it’s my coaches that will let me know.
“They will definitely point out what I did wrong. Even if the fight lasts 20 seconds, they’ll have something to say. But at the same time they’re not just constantly telling me how bad I am. They will tell me what I did good. There’s always positive reinforcement in there too.”
Njokuani (17-4) will look to pick up his eighth win in a row when he faces Andrey Koreshkov (19-2) in the 170-pound main event of Bellator 182 on Friday in Verona, N.Y.
“I’ve just got to go out there and do what I do best and be myself and be something he’s never seen before,” Njokuani said of facing Koreshkov. “I have to be hard to deal with, and if I do that, I can see myself nine times out of 10 coming out with the W.”
While he’s been undefeated for the better part of four years, a win over a former welterweight title holder could be a big boost for Njokuani’s own title aspirations. But at this point, Njokuani is more eager to compete and have good fights than anything else.
“I don’t really go around trying to make statements,” said Njokuani. “I don’t look at it as a statement, but I am conscious enough to understand what this fight will do for me and how I will be perceived after winning this fight.
“Whatever (Bellator) tells me is the next step. I’m down to fight whoever. If I don’t get (a title shot) I don’t get it. We’ll see what happens. I plan on winning this fight and going from there.”