The pressure was on Paul Craig to snap a two fight losing streak to have a chance of a new contract with the UFC ahead of Saturday nights UFC London event.
Craig came up against highly fancied undefeated light heavyweight prospect Magomed Ankalaev and appeared to be on his way to a defeat when he secured a last second submission.
Not only did he secure the win, it seems he has secured his UFC career with a new contract signed. TheMetro newspaper carried an article in which Craig confirmed a new deal had been offered and MMA Fighting’s ArielHelwani confirmed the news on Wednesday, apparently a four fight deal.
It seems that if Craig had been defeated not only was he expecting to be cut from the UFC but he would have walked away from the sport altogether.
“If the UFC didn’t offer me a new contract, I wasn’t going to fight anymore,” Craig told Metro.
“I’d already made that decision before the fight. When you set yourself goals, you can’t settle for second best. … Why would I accept to fight in another promotion? Against weaker opponents? It’s not about the money for me, but it would have been for less money. I was fighting with the attitude that if I lost, then I would end my career not only as a UFC fighter, but an MMA fighter.”
Craig (10-2) now has 2 submission wins over Ankalaev and Henrique da Silva as well as two knockout losses to Tyson Pedro and Khalil Rowntree. For his last second triangle choke submission on Saturday he was awarded a performance of the night bonus.
Craig’s immediate future involves taking his kids to Disneyland however he said post fight he would like to take part on the Liverpool card.
Craig felt the pressure going into his last fight on his contract.
“You’re always anxious coming into a fight, but this one was special,” Craig said. “There was more anxiety because it was a dangerous fight and I was coming to the end of my contract.
“I was coming off two losses. There was the fear that my UFC dream was coming to an end.
“Backs against the wall, in the last second, to win a new contract.”