Natan Levy knows it's a little early in his UFC career to start calling his shots, but after picking up his first octagon victory, the Israeli lightweight has volunteered his services for the promotion's debut event in France.
"I know there's an event in Paris in September," Levy told MMA Underground. "I was born in Paris. I speak French. I think I can help promote the event. I think people from the country would come and watch me from all of Europe, and even from Israel, you can fly. It's a four-hour flight. Many people fly to Europe to watch the UFC until we get the UFC to Israel, so in the meantime, they can come to Paris and watch me fight. I think that'd be cool."
Not a bad pitch, huh?
Levy realizes his name might not necessarily be at the top of the UFC's priority list. After all, he did just register his first promotional win at this past weekend's UFC on ESPN 35 event. That said, it was a pretty impressive performance and a night he'll always remember.
"Getting that first UFC win, it's so incredible," Levy said. "It's so important to everything I've done so far, everything I've worked for. It bears the fruits of all the fights I won so far. It's always been something I'm very proud of and I will take with me for the rest of my life, but this one was special."
Levy (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) faced a very game Mike Breeden (10-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Through the first two rounds, it was a rather dominant performance, with Levy nearly finishing the bout on a couple of occasions. The third was a different story, though, with Breeden mounting a voracious comeback that demanded a response from Levy, who was able to dig deep and gut out a hard-fought decision win.
Levy admits he was impressed with his opponent's resolve.
"He's amazing," Levy said of Breeden. "He's such a tough guy and such a warrior. I knew the third round was going to be deep water. I think he's just the guy that keeps going forward all the time, and for me, I had two rounds in the bag. I was, of course, also tired – and I took some body shots from him.
"He's got some good boxing. He hit me with some good punches, some good body shots, so it took its toll. Also, I feel like I kind of beat up on him for the first two rounds, so that takes energy. Sometimes the hitting somebody is more costly than getting hit, and the third round, I knew it was going to be deep water."
While highlight-reel finishes are always the desired result for any UFC athlete, Levy also realizes the importance of getting time in the cage while he's still relatively early in his career. Getting into the UFC in just his seventh pro fight, Levy knows the more knowledge he can gain right now, the better, and getting pushed to the limit provided ample opportunity for that.
"Every fight you learn from," Levy said. "I'm going to learn a lot from this fight, but also I'm proud of every fight. I know I did my best in there.
"I watched the fight a couple of times so far. I don't enjoy watching myself being sloppy on those takedowns and wobbly. It kind of like irritates me to watch it, but also, you know, I dug deep and just fought until the last bit of energy I had."
It wasn't a perfect performance, but it was a good one, and most importantly, it resulted in a victory. Levy said he's going to stay in fighting shape and prepare for what comes next – which hopefully involves a flight to Paris, as well.
"I think for me, 3 to 4 months would be perfect," Levy said. "I don't need five, six, seven, eight months to get ready for a fight. I'm in shape. I had only low-calorie ice cream so far, so I've still got my abs. I'm ready. I just want to recover a little bit – let my nose heal and my face heal a little bit.
"I'm going to get a couple MRIs, but I think I think I'm going to be good to be back to training like next Monday, maybe even prior. I kind of already want to jump into jiu-jitsu or muay Thai or something and roll light, and then, you know, I don't need a super long camp. I just need a good, decent amount of time to know who I'm fighting. Get ready for them, get to peak shape, and that's it."
To see the full interview with Levy, check out the video above.