Coming into his fight opposite former title challenger Wilson Reis in December’s UFC Fight Night 142 card in Adelaide, Australia, the promotion’s 12th-ranked flyweight knew he was walking on eggshells. Barely a month before “Ben 10” marched into the Octagon for the 7th time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship had “traded” the division’s most successful and recognizable figure in Demetrious Johnson to One Championship, and the organization seemed intent on shuttering the division — handing out pink slips to veterans and prospects alike.
Nguyen, who was signed by the UFC in 2015 after footage of his 25-second KO of Julian Wallace went viral and had put together a 4-2 record with the promotion in the succeeding three years, found himself checking Reddit every morning leading up to the fight for news about the weight class he’d been climbing. After losing a gutsy decision to Reis, his worst fears actualized.
“My manager Jason House, he got it out of them [that I had been released],” Nguyen said, speaking to Sherdog.com about his departure from the promotion. “It felt like the UFC were panicking. They just panicked — ‘Oh we need to cut a bunch of fighters, flyweights aren’t making us money. So we just need to find any excuse to get rid of them.’
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