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Oumar Sy poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on May 15, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Oumar Sy Is In The Right Place At The Right Time

French Light Heavyweight Wants To Be A Standard-Bearer For French MMA, And Plans On Making His Mark In The UFC's 205-Pound Division.

Oumar Sy has had to stay patient, but he will finally make his UFC debut this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy.

France’s Sy was originally set to take on Rodolfo Bellato before injury ruled “Trator” out of the matchup. The UFC’s matchmakers quickly found a replacement, with Antonio Trocoli set to step in to make his UFC debut against Sy. But, upon his arrival in Las Vegas for his Octagon debut, Sy learned that Trocoli was out, as well.

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Now the undefeated 28-year-old will take on Road to UFC alum Tuco Tokkos, who has agreed to step in on less than one week’s notice for his UFC debut. It means that, after a fair degree of tumult, Sy will get to make the walk on Saturday night.

“I’m not that moved, because that's what I wanted,” he said, matter-of-factly during his sit-down with UFC.com ahead of fight night at the UFC APEX.

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“Now, when you've got a chance, you've got to take it, and I'll give it all on Saturday.”

Usually, a fighter heads into a bout having had a decent amount of time to study and prepare for their opponent. But with two booked opponents pulling out of the matchup, Sy doesn’t have that luxury, as he prepares to take on Tokkos, who arrives in the UFC with a 10-3 record, including eight finishes. He’s also riding a three-fight win streak. The name might not be an established one to UFC fans, but Sy is ready for the challenge, and grateful for Tokkos’ willingness to step up.

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“I was prepared for much tougher opponents,” he said.

“The first opponent was out, we don't know why, I've had no news. The second is the same, we don't know why. Now I thank (Tokkos) for saving my fight, because I arrived at the airport and was informed that my fight was canceled. So, thanks to Tuco for saving my fight and my UFC debut.

"I don’t know whether he's prepared or not, I'm in the dark. But I've been preparing for three months, so I'm as prepared as I've ever been. I’m in great shape, so I've come to give a war.”

Sy is the latest in a line of talented French fighters who are taking the opportunity to shine on the world stage. French athletes were unable to compete in professional bouts on home soil until the sport was legalized by the French government in 2020. Now the sport is exploding in popularity in France, and Sy wants to join the likes of Ciryl Gane and Nassourdine Imavov by becoming a standard-bearer for French MMA on the world stage.

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For Sy, that meant getting into the UFC, then positioning himself to play a starring role when the UFC next returns to France. And, just as luck would have it, that timeline appears to be lining up perfectly for him, with the UFC announcing earlier this week that the Octagon will be returning to Paris for a UFC Fight Night event on Saturday, September 28.

“It's clear that MMA in France is going through the roof,” he said.

“The cage is new, the show is new. People were used to boxing, the ring – that's how it's been for generations in France. Now that MMA is here, it's a sport that's becoming increasingly popular in France.

"So I had to be there at the right time, and here I am, so it's perfect for me. Now it's my turn to perform on Saturday. Then it's on to UFC Paris.

“My first fight is now, UFC Paris is in four months – it's the logical next step.

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“I’m the number one in France, I'm very well ranked worldwide. I must represent the light heavyweight (division) for France. Especially in France, they don't know much about this weight class. They focus a lot on heavyweights because there's an ambassador (Gane) there. The 185 too, because there's also an ambassador (Imavov). And, for the 205 division, it’s me. So UFC Paris is the logical next step.”

To make his claim for a spot on that Paris card even more compelling, Sy is targeting a victorious debut performance on Saturday. And, while the 9-0 light heavyweight prospect says he’s ready to go the full 15 minutes, if needed, his intention is to get the job done before the judges are called into action and add to his seven career finishes.

“As soon as I get a chance to finish, I finish the fight,” he stated.

“When I enter the cage, I'm prepared to go all the way to the decision, but as soon as the opponent gives me the opportunity to finish him, I finish the fight.”

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UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs Murphy took place live from UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 18, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!