As I mentioned before this card is fuckin staaAAAAaaaAAcked so I’m going to write a little about it each day (nerdgasms everywhere) and then do the usual preview Friday. Today I’m going to cover up and coming featherweight Jason Knight, and the future of the 145lb division.
At the tail end of 2015, a young, little known featherweight from the backwoods of Mississippi debuted in the UFC, dropping a unanimous decision to Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri. Since then that same fighter has gone 4-0 with 2 finishes, over arguably the 2 toughest of those 4 opponents, and 3 post-fight bonuses. That fighter is Jason Knight.
Jason Knight’s official nickname is “The Kid”. However, a growing number of endeared UFC fans refer to him as “Hick Diaz”. Knight is long and lean, and quite tall for his division as well standing at 5’10. At age 14 he took up martial arts to divert himself from the street fights and general mischief he was getting into. He likes to stand, trade, and talk some shit. Knight is also accomplished on the mat, a brown belt under retired UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher with 13 submission victories on his resume, the last of which was over Alex Caceres and earned him one of those aforementioned bonuses. Any of this sound familiar? Maybe a little like a couple of fiercely independent, supremely talented brothers from Stockton? I thought so.
Overall, Knight has an 80% finishing rate over his 20 wins, 15 of them coming before the start of Round 3. He is a brash, talented upstart with a ton of potential who, at UFC 214, is going into the biggest fight of his career against Ricardo Lamas, the top-15 opponent he demanded after knocking out respected veteran Chas Kelly in the 1st round in May. Should he impress against Lamas, Hick Diaz’s brand of “Mississippi Mean” might be ready for the big time.
As a quick prologue to all this, Knight is a part of a growing list of young, promising featherweights, such as Doo Ho Choi, Brian Ortega, Mirsad Bektic (all 26), Yair Rodriguez (25), and Andre Fili (27) that should make 145 division one of the more exciting for years to come, especially when you factor in the champ, 25 year old Max Holloway. Ortega will actually be fighting on the 214 card as well against another prospect, 28 year old Renato Carneiro.
So tune in Saturday to see if Jason Knight makes the leap. Don’t be scared, homie.