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Phil Hawes poses in the UFC APEX Octagon ahead of his UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen bout against Roman Dolidze
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Phil Hawes’ No Hype Tour

Phil Hawes Wants To Show That He’s The Real Deal At UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen Against Roman Dolidze

Picking up four finishes in his first four professional mixed martial arts bouts, the hype around Phil Hawes suggested that he’d be the sport’s next superstar.

Two consecutive losses later, fans were just as quick to turn their backs on the MMA newcomer with only three years of experience to his name.

“When I started out, there was a lot of hype [behind me],” Hawes said. “I was going to be the next Jon Jones, a world champion, I was going to be undefeated then go to the UFC but then there was some pitfalls and losses.

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“There was one loss where a guy in the crowd, some random dude, said, ‘All hype. Hype train derailed,’ or something like that, so I set out on a course, trying to prove this random dude in the crowd wrong.”

Those losses lit a fire under Hawes, leading him to travel around the world to “beat people’s asses.” Fighting in New York City, India and Slovenia in just a year and a half, Hawes finished three opponents in a row before getting the call to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series for an opportunity to break into the UFC. In just over a minute, Hawes proved that those setbacks early in his career were just lessons on a long path to fighting in the world’s most competitive promotion.

Phil Hawes punches Deron Winn in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center

Phil Hawes punches Deron Winn in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center on June 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)


At UFC 254 in May 2020, Hawes made his UFC debut against an undefeated Jacob Malkoun. 18 seconds into the first round, Malkoun was face first on the mat, with Hawes staring at the camera repeating, “This is mine,” while pointing down to the Octagon floor.

Hawes racked up two more victories, over Nassourdine Imavov and Chris Daukaus, before suffering his first defeat as a UFC athlete against Chris Curtis at UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2. He’s seen this pattern before. Gaining hype until a defeat seems to stop it in its tracks. But like the start of his career, Hawes used it as an opportunity to identify where he could evolve his game before his next bout.

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“Losses, you learn the most,” Hawes said. “From that loss I learned so much. I orchestrated my team a little different, moved a little different, and changed some mental aspects of my game, so that loss was crucial. I think it’s all going to come to fruition at the end of my career and I think [the loss] will be a pinnacle part of my career.

“If you see from the start of my [UFC] career… you can see the progression of my career and the tools I’m adding to my game and how I’m approaching [my fights].”

Phil Hawes TKOs Deron Winn | UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett
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Phil Hawes TKOs Deron Winn | UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Emmett
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Coming out of that loss, fans saw the best version of Hawes to date against a tough and durable Deron Winn in June. Sure, over four minutes into the second round is longer than it usually takes Hawes to put his opponents away, but the way he did it was nothing short of spectacular. Outstriking Winn by nearly 100 total strikes, everything was clicking for “No Hype.”

“It’s definitely a confidence booster; coming off something masterful like that,” Hawes said. “Showcasing all my skills and what people have been hyping me up to be for a few years now. It’s a feather in the cap.”

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Arnold Allen Is A Dark Horse No Longer | Calvin Kattar Is Keen On Ending This One Early | Calvin Kattar's Top Finishes | Fighters On The Rise | Dustin Jacoby Interview | Khalil Rountree Jr

Training at Kill Cliff FC, formally Sanford MMA, in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Hawes trains alongside some of UFC’s most ruthless athletes, including Brendan Allen and Gregory Rodrigues. With the help of these elite talents, Hawes feels that no one at 185 pounds can compare to his well-rounded skill set.

“I don’t think you can name another fighter in the middleweight division who’s a Division 1 wrestler, who’s fought actual Thai Boxing in Thailand and who’s fought kickboxing,” Hawes said. “That’s what gives me my confidence. The guys I train with at Kill Cliff, they give me confidence, too.”

Phil Hawes reacts as he walks away after defeating Deron Winn in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center

Phil Hawes reacts as he walks away after defeating Deron Winn in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Moody Center on June 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


This weekend at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen, Hawes can prove why he’s as good as he says he is against a surging Roman Dolidze.

“I’m expecting it to be a dogfight, but I’m a big dog,” Hawes said. “I’ve been preparing for a dogfight my whole life so let’s get it crackin’,” Hawes said.

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“If you want to be a world champion there’s going to be pressure there, and it’s something that you want and thrive for, so I’m learning to thrive in the moment now.

“I think every fight you’ve seen so far in the UFC, I’ve come out and tried to perform my best. I’m ready for it, I got the right people around me that prepare me for it, so we’re ready to rock. We’re gonna get it done on Saturday.”

UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen, took place live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 29, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass