It was a surreal moment for Joaquin Buckley at UFC Fight Night 179 after he authored a finish that figures to top many “Knockout of the Year” lists at the end of 2020.
The aftermath included a conversation with UFC president Dana White, who was seated cageside at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi and was understandably impressed by Buckley’s work.
“The boss just told me that he wants to give me all of the bonuses, so I’m welcome to it, I want all of it. To be honest with you, it’s surreal. A cloud came over my head when he was talking to me, so I couldn’t hear nothing, but once that money came in, once he talked about that, then it cleared up a little bit,” Buckley said. “But it’s awesome, it’s surreal that Dana White came over and talked to me.”
Although he would ultimately receive just one “Performance of the Night” bonus, Buckley made jaws drop in the second round of his middleweight encounter with Impa Kasanganay, when he landed a jumping spinning back kick after having a head kick caught by his opponent. Kasangany was out before he hit the canvas in one of the most spectacular knockouts in recent memory.
As unlikely as it might seem, Buckley says that he has practiced that very manuever in training — though maybe with a slightly lower degree of difficulty.
“It was just open,” Buckley said of the kick. “I seen that he still had my legs. I was still able to balance with him grabbing my foot, so I just spun and kicked. I aimed and I fire and it got the result we needed. I know I landed flush. I didn’t know if I knocked him out though until he locked up and I said it was game over.
“I train it all the time, the only thing that was different was him holding my leg, but I practice it all the time.”