Blake Bilder: UFC Call is ‘Dream Come True,’ Predicts First Round Finish vs. Shane Young

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Blake Bilder (7-0-1 MMA) will look to start his UFC career with a bang when he takes on the established Shane Young (13-6 MMA, 2-3) at UFC 284 in Perth, Western Australia, on Feb. 11.

Bilder called the match-up with “Smokin” great, adding that he is excited to share his growth since the fight that got him to the big show: a 3:15 rear naked choke victory over Alex Morgan on the Contender Series in August.

“I believe my last two fights were only 20 percent of who I am as a fighter,” Bilder told MMASucka. “I’m ready to showcase that. I see it being a finish in my favor. I’m just excited.”

Bilder predicts a first-round finish over Young, who has already had five UFC fights against tough competitors. Young went the distance with current featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski in 2017 – Volkanovski will look to capture champ-champ status in the UFC 284 main event against Islam Makhachev when the two meet for the lightweight championship.

Bilder believes the UFC is giving him a vote of confidence by pairing him with someone who went the full 15 with the current #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion.

“I feel like they see a young star who’s going to be there for a while and is going to showcase a serious skillset,” Bilder said. “We just beat the No. 1 fighter in all of Canada, [Morgan]. He had four pro titles and everything, and he couldn’t even touch me. I know [him and Young] are not the same person, but I think Dana White was like, ‘Wow, that was f—ing impressive.’ If you read his lips, that’s what he said. Yup. That was impressive. There’s going to be more that’s impressive. I’m looking forward to continuously proving myself right and proving the doubters wrong.”

Bilder was awarded a contract after his finish of Morgan. He said earning a UFC contract was a “dream come true,” but he doesn’t let his emotions get too high or low.

“It feels familiar because I visualized it so often for so long,” he said. “But it feels good, because this past year has been crazy with losing my little brother, with making statements in big organizations. It’s been great. A lot of ups and downs, but the journey has been a beautiful, beautiful blessing. It’s been a beautiful journey. It’s awesome. I’m really thankful and grateful every day.”

Bilder has big goals for the UFC: He wants to become a world champion, reach the pound-for-pound #1 rank, and retire on top.

At 32 years old, Bilder doesn’t feel he necessarily has to make a quick ascent to the top, but he believes he will anyway.

“I feel like I have my goal worked out. That was my mission statement, and that was my chief aim in life. I came at my goals steadily and with confidence that we will attain them. We’re attaining them. Of course, you want to get in there while you’re in your prime, but I feel as I keep getting older, I feel getting wiser and experience and age will be some things that will help me.”

Bilder feels there are a few keys to making the climb quickly: finishing established opponents, exciting fights, and simply winning.

“I definitely don’t want to be a boring fighter,” he said. “I want to put on exciting fights. I want to give something to the fans that they want to see. I think I’ve proven that my last three fights that I’m coming here to finish. You can be ahead in the earlier rounds, but I’m gonna still come back. I got really seasoned with the last fight, so that’s why you didn’t see any chips in the armor. I’m constantly and continuously seeking to get better and see growth in every way, shape and form. It’s going to be entertaining non-stop. I’m going for finishes. I’m going to get finishes. I think just getting in and out is the way to go. Just mitigating the damage that we take along the way.”

Bilder has not yet lost. The one time he did not win a fight was when he had a split draw with Dennis Linton in his third professional fight in 2018.

“El Animal” will put his undefeated record on the line and try to start his rise to the top against Young.

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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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