Dan Kelly has excelled on the big stage, competing for Australia in the Summer Olympics.
Now, Kelly gets the chance to score a huge win when he meets Rashad Evans at UFC 209.
Kelly (12-1) has scored three consecutive wins and is 5-1 overall inside the Octagon. He placed as high as seventh in Judo at the 2004 Summer Olympics, competing four times overall in the Games.
“Oh, it’d be massive,” said Kelly, during an interview on Submission Radio, about beating Evans. “He’s a huge name. He’s a former champion at the weight division above, and it’s one of the biggest names I think that any Australian’s fought. I mean obviously Elvis Sinosic fought Tito Ortiz for the title, Mark Hunt’s fought some really high quality guys, George Sotiropoulos fought (Rafael) dos Anjos before.
“I’m right up there in getting a fight against Rashad Evans, so it’s massive. It’s massive, but I think stylistically and timing-wise it’s a good match up for me. So I obviously know that’s a bit little cliché, but I just believe if I can get through the first minute or two of any fight, that I’m a good chance to beat anyone.”
Kelly enters feeling confident in his skills vs. the former UFC light heavyweight champion, even going as far as predicting a possible finish.
“It will either be a stoppage in the third round or by decision,” he said. “This will be a long, grueling fight. A long, long grueling fight. And like the last couple I’ve had, I think I’ll have to break him down physically and mentally to win the match because he is such an explosive athlete. But yeah, look later in the fight and yeah, that’s where I’ll be.”