LAS VEGAS – From the moment Bryan Battle received word he’d be granted t “TUF 29” tryout until he won the tournament bracket, he told everyone he would be victorious.

At UFC on ESPN 30, Battle (6-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) defeated Gilbert Urbina (6-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by second-round rear-naked choke to become “The Ultimate Fighter” and earned a multifight promotional contract.

“It’s cool,” Battle said at a UFC on ESPN 30 post-fight news conference. “We’ve had this conversation a couple times already. I told everyone back when we talked the first time, back in May, I was going to be ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ It’s just really cool to be sitting here with the trophy as ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ It’s awesome. It’s really, really cool. I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can but we’re just entering the next level. There’s still a lot of improvements to be made – a lot of work to be done. The hard work has just begun. I’m pretty stoked, man, all around. I’m excited.”

Battle, 26, recounted the moment members of the UFC production staff called him and informed him they’d fly him out to Las Vegas for a tryout. On the bubble of the season’s roster, Battle attributed voicing confidence persistently to his selection – and the victories that followed.

“I told them then, ‘All you’ve got to do is let me get my foot in the door. I’ll take care of the rest,’” Battle said. “That’s one of the reasons I got on the show. I was an iffy person to get on the show. I wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a solid pick to be on the show in the first place. The whole time I’m trying to tell them, ‘Guys, let me on the show, please. I’m telling you. If you let me on the show, I’ll win.’ And you know, thankfully, they let me on the show.

“I just have this irrational belief that I can win fights. I don’t know why. I just think I can beat people in fights for no reason, so I’ll just keep going out there and fighting until I can’t beat them anymore.”

Nicknamed “Pooh Bear,” South Carolina’s Battle extended his winning and finishing streaks to five with the submission against Urbina. He has not lost since September 2019.

UFC on ESPN 30 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.

Check out Bryan Battle’s full UFC on ESPN 30 post-fight news conference in the video above.


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