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After Four Consecutive Cancelled Bouts, Ian McCall Will Finally Fight Again this Weekend

Fightland Blog

By Tom Taylor

Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC

Having bested respectable opponents like Jussier “Formiga” Da Silva, Dustin Ortiz, Brad Pickett, and very nearly Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, Ian McCall is one of the very best flyweight fighters on the UFC roster. Regrettably, he’s also one of the most inactive fighters in the division.

This latter fact, however, is not his fault. Thanks to a long string of injuries, illnesses, and all-around bad luck, the flyweight star has been kept on the shelf since January 31 of 2015, now more than two years ago.

Of course, it’s not like he and the UFC haven’t made efforts to fix that. Since his most recent fight, which saw him surrender an early lead to lose a decision to current bantamweight star John Lineker, McCall has been scheduled a whopping four times to no avail. Think about that. Four consecutive scheduled fights, and not a single one of them has happened.

To recount: McCall was expected to return to the Octagon for a rematch with Dustin Ortiz in August of 2015. Regrettably, he was forced out of this fight with an injury and replaced by Willie Gates. From there, McCall spent nearly a full year on the injury list, but was eventually scheduled for a July 2016 fight with young prospect Justin Scoggins. This bout also fell through when Scoggins’ weight cut proved so disastrous that he didn’t even bother stepping onto the scale for battle. Given that McCall was still healthy and fight-ready, he was quickly booked for a replacement fight with another young prospect in Ray Borg. The two were expected to meet on the undercard of September’s UFC 203. This bout was also nixed, as Borg was forced off the card with an illness just three days out from fight night. From there, finally, the UFC planned to send McCall to Belfast, Northern Island, where he was expected to serve as the final opponent of Neil Seery’s long and impressive career. In yet another grim twist, however, McCall fell violently ill, and was forced to make his own withdrawal from a scheduled fight.

Thankfully, all of this chaos seems to be in the rear-view. McCall is now poised for a comeback at UFC 208, which goes down this Saturday in Brooklyn, New York. Though this fight very nearly went the way of his last four planned bouts when Seery, his original opponent, was forced off the bill after a family death, the promotion was able to find him a replacement opponent in last-minute UFC debutant Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks. And so, McCall’s return to the cage appears to be a go—knock on wood.

How McCall’s comeback fight goes, of course, is hard to say. Though his debuting opponent Brooks is a bit of an unknown, he looks like a fighter to take seriously. At just 23 years old, he has already carved out a perfect 12-0 record, earning seven of those 12 wins by knockout or submission.

Given Brooks’ clear talent, it’s entirely possible that McCall’s long awaited return to the cage goes the same way that Ronda Rousey and BJ Penn’s recent comeback fights did—in other words, horribly. Then again, as I stated in the top of this article, McCall is one of the best flyweights on earth, inactive as he’s been or not. And so, it’s also possible that he returns to the Octagon in the same style that “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jun recently did—in other words, fantastically.

Given that the flyweight division has been so starved for legitimate contenders that the UFC recently constructed a season of The Ultimate Fighter with the singular purpose of producing a credible challenger for reigning champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, McCall’s looming return couldn’t come at a better time. Catch him on the undercard of UFC 208 this Saturday. 

 

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