ABU DHABI – Mounir Lazzez’s entry into the UFC was unorthodox.
Ahead of his promotional debut at UFC on ESPN 13, Lazzez (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) spoke about his signing with reporters during a pre-fight media scrum held Monday.
According to Lazzez, a friend ran into UFC president Dana White at a Las Vegas restaurant. In an effort to convince White to sign Lazzez, his friend showed White his highlight reel. The rest is history.
“Yes, by chance he came across Dana White in some restaurant in Vegas, and he showed him my highlight reel,” Lazzez told MMA Junkie. “My name was there on the table since the last (event), Khabib vs. Poirier, that they had here in Abu Dhabi. That’s how they get the deal done. He showed him my highlight reel. (White) followed him on social media, and he put me in contact with Sean Shelby. He offered me a direct fight on July 15 against my opponent. I got the message on social media. I told him I’m up for it. Just direct, I put him in contact with my manager, and we got the deal done.”
Tack it up to luck. Tack it up to skill. Whatever you attribute his signing to, Lazzez thinks it happened at a perfect time.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Lazzez said. “I believe everything happened at the right time in the right moment. Whatever you want to call it. Hard work got me here – or luck. Whatever. I’m here.”
Lazzez, a Dubai resident, will make his first UFC walk in his own backyard when he takes on Razak Abdul Alhassan (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) in the main card opened. Lazzez always envisioned traveling across the world for his debut but is proud to be fighting on the big stage regardless of location.
“It’s a happy moment,” Lazzez said. “I’m proud. I was always visualizing (for) a long time that I would make the walk to the octagon in Las Vegas in MGM Grand or somewhere. But you know, it’s in my (backyard) here. I live in Dubai (for) like 10 years now – or nine. This is a proud moment for me to make it here in ‘Fight Island.’”
UFC on ESPN 13 takes place Wednesday at Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The event airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.