After the long shutdown in the United States, MMA became the first sport to resume when the UFC hosted three crowds in Jacksonville, Florida.
In order to get back its international foes, the organization has also secured a private island, called "Fight Island", in a place so far unknown.
Now it is clear that Jack Hermansson - sixth in the world rankings in the middleweight (84 kilos) and Sweden's highest ranked MMA fighter - will be a match on the island.
On July 18, he goes three rounds against American Kelvin Gastelum, 28, who challenged the World Cup belt as late as last year.
Gastelum is currently seventh in the world ranking.
- Kelvin is a very solid opponent who has been around for a long time and has met many of the biggest names both in welterweight and middleweight. It's not long since he met champion Israel Adesanya and gave him his perhaps toughest match so far, says Jack Hermansson to SVT Sport."A better version of myself"
Initially, the Swede would have met former champion Chris Weidman in Oklahoma in early May, but that feud was canceled as a result of the corona pandemic.
- It has been a special spring where I prepared for a long time for a match that did not go away. There has been a lot of alternative training and uncertainty, while at the same time I feel that it has been instructive to rewrite the routines a bit grand, Hermansson says and continues:
- I still feel that I have developed to a new level and think that I am a better version of myself now.
The last "The Joker" stepped up in the Octagon was in September when, after four straight wins, he lost in a technical knockout against American Jared Cannonier in Copenhagen.
Since then he has been waiting for a chance to revenge.
- I have certainly lost some momentum and hype, but at the same time I know that I am just an impressive win in being back on the same train on the road to that world championship title that I am chasing. I'm not worried, Hermansson says.Different theories of private island
So now he becomes the first Swede to compete on the UFC's private island "Fight Island".
Where it is now.
- I don't know anything, it's been very quiet about it, but it feels exciting and fun. I have heard a few different theories, some believe, for example, that the island is in the Caribbean and others think it will be in Europe, says Hermansson.
How do you feel about competing in these corona times?
- It feels totally okay. I'm not sure what the process will look like once I get to the island, how many tests and checks we need to go through, but I don't think it will bother me. Going to an MMA match is always an extreme situation so I will stay focused on the match.
The UFC has received some criticism for being early in organizing crowds. How do you look at it?
- If you do it the right way and make sure everyone involved is healthy, I see no problem with it.
Jack Hermansson has not been tested for covid-19, but was ill at one point during the spring for two weeks.
- I do not know if I have had the virus, but will definitely have to test me before this match so I will find out.
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Learn more about browser supportSwedish UFC fighter Jack "The Joker" Hermansson, 31, was born and raised in Uddevalla, but has lived in Oslo for ten years. Photo: SVT / Bildbyrån