Local mixed martial artist Mitch Gagnon is just days away from his return to the UFC Octagon after being sidelined for nearly two years because of a blown ACL.
“Now, I’m doing media stuff, photo shoots, and whatever the UFC is asking of me,” said Gagnon, 32, a native of Sturgeon Falls who now lives in Sudbury. “I’m having fun with my team, my coaches.”
He’s enjoying himself. Fight week for any fighter can be a dragged out, exhausting affair, with media obligations and weight cutting, but Gagnon last fought in December 2014, so he’s soaking in the experience.
Gagnon will face Matthew Lopez in a bantamweight fight, the first bout of the televised prelims at UFC 206, held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and headlined by a featherweight interim championship bout between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis.
Everything leading up to Gagnon’s fight has come together neatly. He has a clean bill of health, had a successful camp in Toronto, mostly at Para Bellum MMA, and his weight cut to 135 pounds is so far on point.
Gagnon, as of Wednesday, weighed 146 pounds.
“It’s been one of my best weight cuts,” Gagnon said. “When I fight in Toronto, I’ve had some of my best weight cuts. It has been good.”
It has also been good for his record. Gagnon, who enters the cage Saturday at 12-3, is 2-0 while fighting in Toronto – rear-naked choking Walel Watson at UFC 152 for his first win under the promotion’s banner, then guillotine choking Dustin Kimura at UFC 165.
Both of those victories came in the first round.