Derrick Krantz, at 31 years of age and more than a decade into his professional mixed martial arts career, is getting his shot in the UFC a little later in life than most.
Krantz agreed to step in for Neil Magny to face Vicente Luque at UFC on ESPN+ 10 on just a few days notice. Magny was forced out of the fight after he was flagged by USADA for a potential UFC Anit-Doping Policy violation.
Krantz quickly agreed to take Magny’s spot on the Rochester, New York fight card, where he’ll get the biggest opportunity of his career when he faces Luque.
With a deep background in MMA and a 23-10 record (including winning 6 of his last 7 fights), Krantz has more experience than most fighters getting their first shot in the Octagon. He also believes that his experience is going to allow him to surprise the people that are wondering just who the heck he is when the cage door closes on Saturday night.
How did the fight with Vicente Luque come together?
My new management company, Iridium Sports Agency, got a hold of me Monday night, asking if I could make 170 for this weekend. I told them I could, they went to work, and it all came together.
How do you feel your experience prepares you for taking a short notice fight with such a top UFC fighter on short notice?
I feel fully prepared, which comes from my experience. I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to go down in the cage. I’ve watched him fight, I’ve got a game plan; I’m just going to go out there, fight my fight, and get the W.
What is your biggest concern heading into the fight with Luque?
He’s got a lot of finishes from everywhere — on the ground and standing up — so he’s a dangerous finisher. I’ve just gotta go out there and finish him before he gets a chance to make his move.
What are your biggest strengths that give you confidence heading into the UFC on short notice?
My experience is definitely a big factor. Right now I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be at the exact right time — everything is coming together. I feel very confident because of my ability — my striking, my grappling — and I think everybody is going to be really surprised Saturday.
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You are getting your UFC shot a little later in life, relatively. How does that affect your approach to this fight and your future with the UFC?
That’s an interesting question. I’m looking forward to going out there, making a statement, and then looking to the next fight. In a way I’m running against the clock, but I don’t want to work my way up too fast and rush my way through my career with the UFC. I may be a little older than some guys, but I’m not worried and I’m not going anywhere (laughs). I think my experience and time in the game will definitely help me appreciate this opportunity and experience even more.