Chris Daukaus earned the most significant victory of his career to date at UFC Fight Night 185, as he scored a first-round technical knockout of Alexey Oleynik in a featured heavyweight encounter at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
With three first-round finishes to kick off his promotional tenure, the 31-year-old Philadelphia native is now a person of interest in the division.
“This is what careers are made of right now. The light is on the heavyweight division right now, especially with the amount of heavyweight headliners,” Daukaus said. “It’s definitely something I’m not taking for granted. I’m definitely capitalizing on it.
“I’ve finally got a number next to my name. It’s something I’ve been striving for. It was definitely something I could grab and I did that.”
By putting Oleynik away 1:55 into the opening stanza, Daukaus was able to avoid going to the ground with the Russian submission specialist. “The Boa Constrictor” entered Saturday night with 46 tapout victories to his credit.
“It could have been better, in my opinion,” Daukaus said. “I made a few mistakes. I’m going to be picking that apart. He’s as strong as he looks. There are things I have to work on and I’ll be doing that.”
Daukaus thwarted Oleynik’s lone takedown attempt and rocked his foe with a right hand. From there, he teed off with punches and knees against the fence until referee Herb Dean stepped in to wave off the contest. Daukaus is now tied for the UFC’s second-longest active knockout streak with three and is one of nine fighters in promotion history to begin their career with a trio of first round finishes.
“Everyone has to get past these hands,” Daukaus said. “As you just saw, they can’t get past these hands. If they do get past these hands, it’s a mystery how good my ground game is. I’d rather keep people in the dark.
“I have better hands than 95 percent of the division. They might say I’m one-dimensional—come beat me. Beat me if you can. If not, just shut up about it.”
As for the rest of 2021, Daukaus hopes to maintain an active approach. If all goes as planned, he could be ready for title contention by the following year.
“This was the first fight of the year for me. I’ll gladly take another two, maybe three, by the end of the year. Then in 2022, No. 1 or No. 2 contender spot. If not, I’m fighting for that title in 2022,” he said.
“I can’t wait to test myself. I look forward to stepping up and main eventing some of these cards.”