Dana White Grants Joaquin Buckley Top Spot On UFC St. Louis

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Joaquin Buckley is coming home.

Two weeks ago, the UFC Welterweight contender crashed the UFC 300 press conference to ask CEO Dana White about potentially fighting on UFC St. Louis on May 11th, seeing as though he’s from “The Lou” himself. Despite Buckley’s somewhat convincing campaign to replace heavyweight Derrick Lewis in the main event, White brushed him off and ended the presser there.

The UFC eventually met the St. Louis native halfway on his request as White announced Buckley’s return on Wednesday, a welterweight matchup against Nursulton Ruziboev. The fight will serve as the co-main event of UFC St. Louis, which takes place at the Enterprise Center.

“Buckley’s been showing up everywhere and doing everything including jumping on the mic at UFC 300 press conference, asking me to get him a fight against anyone so he could fight in his hometown of St. Louis,” White said on Instagram. “As I’ve said many times, I love guys that are hungry, willing to fight anybody and asking for fights, that is Joaquin Buckley.”

It’s three wins in a row for “New Mansa” after he dismantled top contender Vicente Luque at UFC Atlantic City last month. The win placed Buckley in the top 15 rankings and the #11 ranked contender will look to keep it that way when facing the unranked Ruziboev.

The Uzbekistan-born Ruziboev (34-8-2, 2 NC) has twice as many fights as his opponent Buckley. Although, he’s still new to the UFC Octagon as this will be his third fight since joining the promotion in 2023. “Black” holds an impressive 94% finishing rate with 12 wins by KO and 20 by submission.

Ruziboev also fought on UFC Atlantic City alongside Joaquin Buckley, scoring a first-round TKO of SD Dumas earlier in the night.

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Christopher De Santiago is a journalist out of Texas with years of experience covering MMA. Follow him on X: @chris_dsantiago

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