Ode Osbourne Expects No Ring Rust at UFC Vegas 18: ‘Rust is a Mindset’

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Ode Osbourne will empty his bag of tricks if he has to in order to secure his first UFC win and earn an extra $50,000 in the process. Osbourne (8-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is slated to meet  Jerome Rivera (10-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) on Saturday at UFC Vegas 18.

Osbourne was originally slated to fight promotional newcomer Denys Bondar before Bondar withdrew from the bout. Prior to the bout cancellation, Osbourne told MMASucka that he was planning to secure a Performance of the Night bonus against Bondar.

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“I’m hoping, if everything goes well, me and my corner have been working on some tricks to get me a nice little $50K bonus,” Osbourne had told MMASucka when he was slated to fight Bondar. “If everything goes well, you’ll see a nice $50K trick coming out.”

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Ode Osbourne’s Return

The bout will mark Osbourne’s first fight since his UFC debut in January 2020; a submission loss to Brian Kelleher. Osbourne has been training regularly despite the coronavirus pandemic, and believes ring rust won’t be a factor.

“Dominick Cruz said it once. [Rust] really is kind of a mindset,” Osbourne said. “Think about what rust is. It’s like, your body or your mentality is feeling that pressure of not fighting for a while. That’s what rust is. But if you spar and you train, and you push your body to the limits, then there’s really no such thing.”

Osbourne plans to drop to flyweight after his fight with Rivera, who has largely competed at flyweight himself.

Despite coming off a loss to Kelleher – a tough out for anyone climbing the bantamweight ladder – Osbourne is trying to avoid thinking about whether his bout with Rivera is a must-win.

“I feel like you never know that it could be a must-win,” Osbourne said. “But then again, I feel like you’re always fighting for your job no matter what. I’m not really too worried about it, because I just have to focus on my task at hand, which is winning. If I get too caught up in, ‘I’ve gotta win, I must win,’ and I get too in my head and too unfocused … I haven’t really thought about that, to be honest with you. I’ve kind of just been so focused on doing what I do, which is fighting an exciting fight.”

Osbourne said he wants to show off his skill-set more than he got to in his UFC debut.

Fans will get to see some amazing, explosive performance,” he said. “I’ll say that. Anyone who watches me fight knows I’m not a boring fighter. I’m pretty explosive in the Octagon.”

Osbourne works as an assistant teacher for his full-time job and is doing English Language Arts this year. He said it’s been weird and strange to be teaching kids virtually due to the pandemic.

“Usually I’m the class helping the kids, doing small groups and helping them out,” Osbourne said. “But now I’m behind a desk staring at them through a screen and trying to help them through a screen, which is completely different. Life is one big adaptability. You have to be able to adapt to life no matter what it throws at you. For me, I can’t put too many of my eggs or emotions into one aspect of how I feel. I kind of just have to go with where I am in life right now, which is being virtual and how I can best support the students. That’s my main thing. Trying not to complain about what I can’t do and what I can do but how I can help my students.”

Osbourne and Rivera will do battle on the undercard of UFC Vegas 18. The card is slated to go down from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!

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