“It does feel like five years, but I couldn’t be more excited and I’m looking forward to many more beyond that,” he said. “Obviously now, after winning The Ultimate Fighter, being 8-2 and soon to be 9-2, there’s a lot to look forward to in the future years. But first and foremost, there’s the next opponent that I have in front of me and I’m really excited to kick off the next five years being in the top ten and that’s where a win over Brunson will put me in.”
Given his Octagon record and wins over the likes of Sam Alvey, Cezar Ferreira, and Eryk Anders, one might wonder why Theodorou hasn’t already started making noise in the title race. A couple key losses to Thiago Santos and Brad Tavares that snapped winning streaks might explain that, but Theodorou isn’t complaining about where he’s at because he knows where he’s going. And with each successive fight, he gets more comfortable and if he’s comfortable, you can figure out the rest. So while he’s now the veteran in UFC years, in martial arts years, he’s still younger than many of his peers.
“After The Ultimate Fighter, I was the ‘fresh-faced’ individual,” Theodorou said. “I would argue that I’m still a little fresh-faced. (Laughs) I’m someone that gets to do what they love every single day of the week, so in many ways I pinch myself because I get to do what I love and there’s also the aspect that I didn’t do martial arts throughout my life. I jumped into this at 20 and now, at 30, I’m a decade into martial arts and within striking distance of the ten best in the world in ten years.”
When he puts it like that, it’s clear why he’s letting the process play out and taking his time. And while he’s been learning his craft on the biggest stage in the sport, he’s become a Renaissance Man of sorts as he builds his brand outside the Octagon.