Jack Hermansson Rejects Role as Stepping Stone for Joe Pyfer, Seeks Fights with Nassourdine Imavov or Khamzat Chimaev

Jack Hermansson defeated Joe Pyfer in UFC Vegas 86’s main event, handing Pyfer his first loss in the UFC, and is now looking ahead at a potential fight against Nassourdine Imavov.

Jack Hermansson had a gut feeling. The UFC pitted him against Joe Pyfer in the main event of UFC Vegas 86.

He was coming off a knockout loss. He’d been out of the game for 14 months. Now, he was back to face an unranked opponent.

Joe Pyfer. A man with an inspiring backstory of overcoming injury and personal hardship. UFC CEO Dana White couldn’t stop talking about it.

Pyfer was on a roll. He’d racked up a flawless 3-0 record since joining the UFC. Every fight ended in a knockout or submission. The stage was set for Pyfer’s grand debut in his first UFC main event.

But Hermansson didn’t play along.

“He didn’t even have a ranking,” Hermansson pointed out at the UFC Vegas 86 post-fight press conference. “I feel like he got more exposure than I did for this fight. I get it. He has an amazing story, he’s coming up through the Contender Series, and he has a lot of eyes on him. He should get a shot like this, but then you also need to be able to perform to take it to that next level. I was not going to be that stepping stone.”

Hermansson proved his point. Pyfer started strong, but Hermansson wore him down, especially in the final three rounds. He pummeled Pyfer with relentless leg kicks and a steady stream of jabs.

When the dust settled, Hermansson had clearly done enough to win. He handed Pyfer his first loss inside the octagon.

“It feels good to show everybody that I’m up there,” Hermansson said. “I’m one of the best middleweights in the world. That’s just facts by now.”

Despite Pyfer’s loss, Hermansson had nothing but praise for the 27-year-old prospect. He reassured him that this experience would only make him stronger.

“I promise you he’s going to do well. I’m sure of it,” Hermansson said. “Now he has this loss and I’m sure he’s just going to grow from it. Joe seems like a great guy. He seems focused. He’s a dangerous fighter and I don’t see why he shouldn’t be great.”

As for what’s next, Hermansson is already eyeing a potential fight against Nassourdine Imavov, who just scored a big win over Roman Dolidze at UFC Vegas 85.

“I just watch the rankings and I fought a lot of guys up there,” Hermansson said. “Obviously, I can’t come back with a fight with an unranked opponent and go direct to the top. I need to fight someone that’s closer to me in the rankings. I think [Imavov] makes the most sense at the moment.”

With many of the division’s top fighters tied up, Hermansson sees Imavov as the logical next step. But he’s open to other options.

One possibility? Khamzat Chimaev. Hermansson faced him in a freestyle wrestling match back in 2021. They both train in Sweden, which could set up a big clash for a possible event in Europe if the UFC decides to travel there.

“Of course, I’m willing to fight Khamzat,” Hermansson said. “I know there has been talk of him and [Jared] Cannonier and some of the other top names, so we’ll see what is happening. But I would be open for that fight [against Chimaev].

“I would also love to fight Brendan Allen, but he is booked up with [Marvin] Vettori at the moment. Imavov makes the most sense.”


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