After over two years away from the game, Solomon Courtoreille is back.
Edmonton’s Courtoreille (5-0) will battle Calgary’s Usman Khattak (4-2) for the Extreme Fighting Challenge (XFC) amateur featherweight title at XFC 11 in Vernon, B.C. on Saturday night.
Despite the lengthy layoff, Courtoreille, 22, said he believes he has the upper hand on Khattak wherever the fight may go.
“I just don’t see him beating me in any area. I just don’t think he’s on my level,” said Courtoreille in an interview.
“After getting back into training again, I feel I’m just naturally built for this.”
So far in his career, Courtoreille has three victories via decisions and two by stoppage, both being submissions.
And although Khattak has proven to be durable so far in his young amateur career, Courtoreille said he will be able to put his adversary away before the final bell.
“This is the best camp I’ve had and it’s the sharpest I’ve ever been, so I see a finish in the first or second round,” said Courtoreille.
“Once I find his timing and range, it’s going to be a whole different type of fight than he’s ever felt before.”
With this being a title fight and a potential for five rounds, it’s a stage that would be unchartered territory for many amateurs. But not Courtoreille.
His most recent fight back in July 2017 was for the XFFC amateur featherweight title, a contest he went the full five rounds in, taking a split decision win over Brandon Gardner.
Courtoreille said having already experienced the feeling of fighting five rounds will work in his favour if Saturday night’s contest reaches the deeper waters.
“In my last fight, I took the fight in the championship rounds,” said Courtoreille.
“Going five rounds, that does something to someone. When you’re in those deep waters, if you haven’t been there before, you really have to dig deep.”
Khattak’s Cardio On Point
While Khattak, 21, has shown he can go the distance and still perform at his best, with three of his four wins coming by unanimous decision, this will be the first potential five-round fight of his career.
With the possible five rounds in the equation, Khattak said he’s placed plenty of emphasis on his cardio during this training camp.
“My cardio’s been holding up really good. I’ve been waking up every other early morning and going for runs,” said Khattak in an interview.
“My cardio’s looking really good right now, and I’m pretty confident in it.”
In the time Courtoreille has been away from the cage, Khattak has been highly active, fighting four times in that span.
But despite his opponent’s lengthy absence, Khattak said he doesn’t believe cage rust will be a factor for Courtoreille, unless it’s in his head.
“I’m not really much of a believer in that stuff; it’s usually a mental thing. But if he does have that issue, I think it’ll show itself in the fight,” said Khattak.
“But I’m not relying on that. I’m just relying on my own hard training, trusting my abilities, and doing what I do. I’m expecting the best version I can of my opponent. If I expect the best version of my opponent, nothing he does will surprise me.”
Khattak enters Saturday’s contest red-hot, having won two-straight and four of his last five contests.
And while his recent run alone is enough to fire him up to step in the cage again, he said fighting for his first title has given him an extra surge of motivation.
“I’m really stoked. This is something that’s going to fuel me even more in the fight,” said Khattak.
“Every single fight I give 110 per cent, but now that it’s a title fight, it’s lit a fire underneath me and I’m going to go 300 per cent this time.”
“I just want to give a big thank you to my team at Kingdom MMA for getting me ready for this fight and supporting me.” Follow Courtoreille on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM
“I’d like to give a shoutout to my team at Dynamic MMA, head coach Vince Gentile, main coach Matt Krayco, wrestling coach Devin Kirk, all other coaches at Dynamic MMA, all my training partners, and boxing coach Mike Short.” Follow Khattak on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM