British fighter meets Rory MacDonald in co-main event
ATLANTA – Che Mills is fine with not being known by many fans. He just plans on changing that Saturday night.
Mills, a British fighter who made a quick impression in his UFC debut in November with a 40-second knockout of Chris Cope at UFC 138, meets Rory MacDonald in the co-main event of UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans on Saturday. And if things go as planned, people will know who he is.
“I just look at is as just a fight,” Mills said Thursday after a workout at Georgia State University. “I don’t put him on any pedestals in my head – I can’t afford to. Obviously not a lot of fans have seen me fight – especially over here (in the States). So it’s a fair enough assumption, but I’m just hoping to change all their minds Saturday night.”
Mills (14-4, 1 NC, 1-0 UFC) said he started to see an uptick in fans in his native England after his UFC debut last fall.
“Even in my city where I live, since I fought in the last UFC it’s dramatically changed,” Mills said. “There’s always been hard-core fans. But now, even just going shopping at the supermarket people are coming up to me wishing me well – people I’ve never met before. It’s nice. It’s a nice feeling.”
Mills is a heavy underdog against MacDonald on Saturday. MacDonald is the biggest favorite on the card at 6-to-1. And MacDonald at one point has even said he was unsure who Mills was before the fight was booked. But Mills isn’t worried about it.
And he certainly isn’t worried about taking a fight against a highly touted welterweight prospect like MacDonald.
“Obviously when you’re first here, you get a little bit nervous,” Mills said. “Like, ‘Ooooh. He’s a good guy.’ But at the same time, it’s the UFC. What else are you here for? I accepted (the fight) straight away.”
Though there is only 40 seconds worth of UFC footage on Mills thanks to his quick work of Cope in November, a win over a high-profile fighter like MacDonald on a high-profile pay-per-view like UFC 145, and in a high-profile position in the co-main event, could take Mills from relative obscurity to buzz-worthy up-and-comer.
“I definitely (think about what comes next),” Mills said. “That’s one of the reasons I accepted the fight. Obviously if I win this fight, I don’t know – maybe people will judge me as a contender. I’m just hoping for a bit of recognition – that’s all I want from this fight.”