LONDON – Paul Craig’s wins over Magomed Ankalaev and Jamahal Hill have aged very well.

Craig (15-4-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC) scored Performance of the Night finishes of both Ankalaev and Hill, who haven’t lost since and are both ranked higher than him in the UFC light heavyweight standings.

Unbeaten in his past five fights, Craig will look to keep rolling when he faces fellow finisher Nikita Krylov (27-8 MMA, 8-6 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 204 at O2 Arena, and he’s brimming with confidence knowing that he’s finished some of the division’s top contenders.

“Definitely,” Craig told reporters at Wednesday’s UFC London media day. “One of the things that you always do is compare yourself to other guys in the division, and you want to know that you fit there because that’s what it’s about. It’s about, ‘Am I good enough to be in that top 10?’ Seeing what Jamahal Hill has done in his last two fights gives me confidence, and seeing what Ankalaev is doing to the top prospects in the top 10, so it’s just filling me with hope.”

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Craig didn’t have the best start to his UFC career. Prior to his comeback finish of Ankalaev in March 2018, the 34-year-old Scottish fighter was on the receiving end of back-to-back knockout losses to Tyson Pedro and Khalil Rountree, which he admits had him doubting himself.

“Many times I remember lying awake at night feeling like I don’t deserve to be in the UFC,” Craig recalled. “I felt like a fraud and let’s be honest, I was a fraud. I got beat by two high-level guys, but I was a fraud. I shouldn’t have been there, and it made me work harder. It made me a better person.”


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