Exploring the Rivalries of Joaquin Buckley

Oh, what a moment it was. Joaquin Buckley, spinning back kick, lights out for Impa Kasanganay. Iconic? Absolutely. This knockout didn’t just make waves; it won the knockout of the month in October 2020. And then, the knockout of the year. Buckley, now dubbed “New Mansa,” carved a niche for himself in the UFC’s storied history with that move.

But let’s not sugarcoat it. After that high, Buckley’s record turned a bit… let’s say, unpredictable. Yet, 2023 seemed to be his year of resurgence. Dropping down to the 170-pound division? A masterstroke. Three wins in a row? You bet. Buckley’s not just back; he’s on a mission.

Remember UFC 300’s press conference? Buckley sure made it memorable. Grabbing the mic, demanding a main event slot at UFC on ESPN 56. Part of his wish came true. May 11, mark your calendars. Buckley vs. Nursulton Ruziboev. It’s happening in St. Louis, Missouri. Before we dive into that, let’s rewind and check out some rivalries that have shaped Buckley’s path.

Kevin Holland was Buckley’s welcome committee to the UFC. No glove touch, just straight business. Holland’s strategy? Volume striking. Buckley’s? Power in every punch. Despite a competitive start, Holland’s precision right hand ended things in the third round. A tough lesson for Buckley, but a defining moment in his journey.

Then there was Jordan Wright. Undefeated. Until Buckley stepped in. Wright survived the first round, barely. But 18 seconds into the second, and it was all over. Buckley’s power was just too much, improving his UFC record and handing Wright his first loss.

Chris Curtis was next. The weigh-ins? Fiery. The fight? Explosive. Buckley led with dynamic strikes, but Curtis found his moment. A sharp left hand sent Buckley to the canvas, marking his second consecutive loss. This defeat pushed Buckley to rethink, leading to his move down to welterweight.

And let’s not forget Vicente Luque. A co-main event that had fans on the edge of their seats. Buckley, fighting smart, keeping distance, then blitzing in. Luque, holding the center, looking for his shot. It was a tactical battle, but Buckley’s aggression in the second round paid off. A knee, a flurry of punches, and Luque was on the back foot. Buckley’s ground strikes sealed the deal, marking one of the biggest wins of his career.

So, what’s next for Buckley? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure, his journey’s been anything but dull.

MMA News & Rumors