With a 10-year professional career in his back pocket, Jesse Arnett has earned his spot as one of Canada’s top bantamweights and, once again, he will travel to the other side of the world to showcase his talent.
This time Calgary, Alta.’s Arnett (18-6) will take on UFC-veteran Ray Borg (13-5) in the main event of UAE Warriors 20 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
At 36 years young, Arnett continues to make noticeable improvements and, in the midst of a three-fight win streak, there have been no signs of decline. Arnett says he feels as good as he ever has.
“If you look back at the recent fights I lost, it’s more like a couple exchanges I lost. Hats off to those guys, both great fighters, however I needed that because now my defence is tighter and I know when to push forward,” Arnett said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I went on a 12-fight win streak bullying people and being a little bit reckless. Now that we’ve put everything together it’s different. I went to a sports psychologist, I’m firing on all cylinders now and I have no doubts that I’m going to break this kid down and grab a finish.”
Borg comes into this fight off the heels of a 12-fight UFC career, and the former 125-pound title challenger will be looking to prove he still belongs at the top of the food chain, which is exactly the type of challenge Arnett is looking for.
“Obviously, he has a boat load of experience, he’s no slouch. He was finished by Demetrious Johnson, who’s one of the best fighters ever, but that’s only happened once. If he loses, it often goes to a decision,” Arnett said.
“When I put this kid away it’s going to be a huge feather in my cap. And styles make fights, man. I’m 5’9″ with a 69-inch reach, I have long, straight punches and I improve every time. He’s 5’4″ maybe with a 63-inch reach and he hooks his punches a bit. I just have to look out in the tight spots, I have to be careful in the pocket. We have a perfect game plan set up, I’m going to establish my jab and be super patient. I have more weapons than him and when I’m ready to open up it’ll be exciting.”
Former Olympic alternate and national champion wrestler, Arnett has always excelled on the mat in MMA, but he isn’t looking for a straight grappling exhibition.
Arnett said he has a lot of respect for Borg’s ground game and knows he can be dangerous there.
“I think this is where Ray will be the best. He’s a good grappler and I think his wrestling is underrated, he’s quick and he picks guys up. He’s definitely underrated on the ground, however, I’m a damn good striker, I’ve got long punches and long kicks, I think I’m going to give him some problems on the feet and use my strikes to get in on a body lock and take him down or force him into taking a shot and grab his neck,” said Arnett.
“I know I’m going to go forward on him, and I know I’m not just going there for the win. I’m confident in my skills and this has to be my career fight. I have no choice but to go out there and have my best performance.”
Arnett is coming off a split decision win over Elias Boudegzdame in his UAE Warriors debut back at the beginning of the year.
Despite coming out on top, COVID-19 restrictions in Canada had a big impact on Arnett leading up to that fight, but this time he feels much more prepared.
“Last camp, with restrictions, I spent 30-40 days training in my basement and then I was locked in a hotel in Abu Dhabi,” Arnett said.
“This time we’re doing what we can and I had a world class preparation. We’re ready to go and I’m excited.”
Arnett is no stranger to headlining events, having done so on multiple occasions, but Borg will be his most high-profile fight of his long career.
More than happy for the opportunity, Arnett is proud to once again be representing Canada at a big event.
“I’m extremely grateful and blessed, the poster came out and I’m the headline. From the hood to the headliner,” Arnett said.
“I’m extremely happy about this, with them having their 20th show and putting me in the red corner, I’ll be making that last walk. I can’t really ask for more and, to be honest, has there been a more high-profile fight out of Calgary in the last few years?”
“Sponsors Robin Hahn (Build 360), Jesse Fox (Fox Inspection), sports psychologist Chris from Unlimited Mindflow, coach Tim Blanchard and coach Jhonson the Don. Also, shout out to my brother Cody Arnett for making the trip with me and being in my corner.” Follow Arnett on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM