Oban Elliott Discusses Meeting Chael Sonnen & CM Punk Following First UFC Victory

Oban Elliott made his UFC debut with a win over Val Woodburn at UFC 298, fulfilling a childhood dream and a promise to his late father, and also had the chance to meet his idols CM Punk and Chael Sonnen.

Oban Elliott is soaring high. He’s on top of the world.

Saturday was a big day for him. He made his UFC debut at UFC 298. He took a unanimous decision win over Val Woodburn. This wasn’t just a win, it was the realization of a childhood dream. A promise he’d made to his late father.

Elliott’s on cloud nine. “I’m living the dream. I literally am living the dream,” he said on The MMA Hour. He’s probably the happiest man in the world right now.

He didn’t finish Woodburn in the first round. That would’ve been amazing, maybe even a 50 grand win. But this, this is going to pay more than $50,000 in dividends. He got three rounds under the lights, in a big arena. He got more comfortable as the fight went on.

Elliott’s not just here for the hype. He’s going to the top. He’s got three rounds of solid experience banked. He got dropped and overcame that. He knew he had it in him, but on the big stage? He didn’t freeze. He stood strong. He’s proud of himself.

His first UFC win was just the start of his night. After the media and medicals, he got a surprise. He met CM Punk, who was there. Elliott’s a lifelong wrestling fan. He jumped at the chance.

“Get the medical done, go and do the media,” Elliott said. He was doing his pictures when Megan Olivi ran up. “Oban, do you want to meet CM Punk?” Hell yes, he wanted to meet CM Punk! They were just talking, bouncing ideas off each other. It was surreal.

He asked Punk about the nerves. “As wrestlers, do you get nervous?” Punk said, “The day I didn’t feel the nerves is the day I quit 10 years ago.” Elliott can take that with him for the rest of his career.

His night wasn’t over. He got to meet his childhood hero, Chael Sonnen. “I quickly get dressed, boom-boom-boom, get down, back in the car, straight to the thing,” Elliott said. He was shuttled off, put through the lift, and there he was! They embraced, and Sonnen thanked him for the shoutout in the cage.

“Just an unbelievable moment,” Elliott said. Sonnen told him, “This is just the beginning and we’re going to keep this going. Gangsters Inc.”

Elliott has always been open about Sonnen’s influence on his career. Sonnen was his biggest idol growing up. He’s part of the reason Elliott pursued MMA. So, meeting Sonnen and CM Punk, and having the full UFC experience, Elliott is still buzzing.

“We’re just talking and he said, ‘It’s not a surprise. I’ve been following you for so long,'” Elliott said. He was still thinking about meeting CM Punk while talking to Sonnen. And earlier in the week, Michael Bisping!

“At the fighter meeting with Bisping and he looks me in the eye and tells me, ‘Your dad would be so proud of you.’ I burst into tears. Coming from him. I’m thinking to myself, what did I do to deserve this? How has this worked out so well?”

Elliott’s now 10-2 in his professional career. He’s a former Cage Warriors amateur champion. The 26-year-old is fully on his way in UFC. He’s hoping to move to 2-0 in the promotion with a win closer to home.

“They’re saying they’ve got a Manchester card in July,” Elliott said. “That would be really good. A home show would be nice, timing wise. I’ve got to let my body heal. I had a few bumps and bruises going into this fight. I’ve got make sure everything is OK before going into another training camp. But definitely in the summer. Not too soon, where I’m rushing. Hopefully the Manchester card in July, if that is true.”

As for an opponent? Elliott had too big of a weekend to be too concerned about that.

“Honestly, and this is a very important part of an interview, you’ve got to set up the next fight,” Elliott said when asked about an opponent. “But I can’t think of a single person that is even worth thinking about at the minute, after week I’ve had. … I’m afraid I don’t have any name in mind. For now, let’s just enjoy this one.”


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