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With a surprising heel-hook submission of Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday night, Jack Hermansson re-established himself as a person of interest in the UFC’s middleweight division.
“People don’t know, the heel hook has been part of my game for a long time,” Hermansson said at the UFC Fight Night 172 post-fight press conference. “But you don’t see me on bottom too much. That’s why you haven’t seen the heel hook so much before. Should I end up there again, you’re going to see another heel hook.”
Hermansson has won five of his last six Octagon appearances, with his lone setback coming at the hands of Jared Cannonier this past September. In the aftermath of his most recent triumph, “The Joker” targeted the winner of this weekend’s middleweight headliner between Robert Whittaker and Darren Till.
“The winner between Robert Whittaker and Darren Till, that’s the fight to make,” he said. “That’s the only thing that makes sense right now, so I’m keeping my eyes on that fight next weekend. … I give a small edge to Whittaker in that fight, but I think it’s going to be a close fight. Both are great standup fighters, but Whittaker has been a great champ, so I think he will take it.”
Hermansson also has his eyes on the title fight pitting Israel Adesanya against Paulo Henrique Costa, which will reportedly take place at UFC 253 in September. With one more win, the 32-year-old Sweden resident could be a serious contender for the belt, and he believes “Borrachinha” will be the most likely opponent down the road.
“I believe Paulo Costa will be champion when I fight for the title,” Hermansson said. “He’s going to put some pressure on Adesanya. Paulo Costa’s pressure is just insane. He’s throwing so hard with everything he’s got. He can do it for almost all of the rounds. It’s just incredible the physique and the power that guy has. I think that’s going to be problematic for Adesanya. But you don’t know what’s going to happen in this sport. Adesanya is a great fighter, he’s a standup wizard and it’s going to be an interesting fight.”