Can Spencer shock the world?
On Nov. 4, 2017, a Saturday night in New York City, 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Georges St-Pierre challenged for and captured the UFC middleweight title.
He is the most recent Canadian to take a shot at UFC gold before tonight, when Felicia Spencer faces Amanda Nunes for the featherweight crown in the main event of UFC 250.
The event will take place at the UFC Apex with no fans in attendance.
The Montreal-born Spencer has been hearing the comparisons to the Canadian MMA legend and she welcomes them, planning to follow in his title-winning footsteps.
"It’s kinda crazy. People keep putting me in the same sentence as GSP this week and it’s pretty awesome,” said Spencer. “I will kinda bathe in that glory after I get the belt. I know I have a job to do first. The idea of being in that great company and being able to hold the belt up and have a whole nation behind me is pretty awesome.”
Spencer has been impressive in all three of her UFC bouts. She scored a first-round submission victory over Megan Anderson in her debut and added another first round win, via TKO, over Zarah Fairn in her most recent outing.
Perhaps her most notable outing in her three-fight UFC career though, is her unanimous decision loss to Cris Cyborg. Spencer proved that she belonged in that defeat, setting the stage for Saturday’s title fight.
If Spencer is going to leave the UFC Apex as the new featherweight champion, she will do it as a massive underdog. Spencer says she relishes the chance to surprise everyone and achieve her goal.
"I love the underdog status; I hope I’m always the underdog in a way,” said Spencer. “It’s just nice to know what you’re capable of, and hopefully on that night bring it out and execute what you know you can do. In this case, being such a big underdog, hopefully shock the world.”
Nunes will be chasing her own history on Saturday. There have been four simultaneous two-division UFC champions, but none has ever defended both belts while remaining champion in multiple weight classes.
The Brazilian is riding an impressive 10-fight winning streak that includes a victory over every woman who has held either the bantamweight or featherweight title.
She has left Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in her wake, and holds two victories over current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.
"My entire career has been big moments and I’ve always been able to handle it. Saturday is a big moment again,” Nunes told UFC.ca. “My mind is going to be so ready for that moment because my whole career was built in big moments, tough opponents, high adrenaline and I was strong; my mind was strong, and my body was strong enough to handle it all.”
Alex Caceres and Chase Hooper will headline the UFC 250 prelims which will air LIVE at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on TSN1, TSN4, TSN5 and TSN Direct.
Caceres enters the featherweight bout off of a victory over Steven Peterson at Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. Edwards last July.
The 31-year-old has alternated wins and losses in his last six fights and will be looking to start building some momentum on a winning streak.
Hooper holds an undefeated 9-0-1 record and will be fighting in his second UFC bout. The 20-year-old earned a first-round TKO victory over Daniel Teymur at UFC 245 in his Octagon debut.
"As soon as they brought the name up, I immediately recognized it,” Hooper told MMAJunkie.com. “But yeah, I think that’s what I’m here to do, is to try and fight the best guys and just show how good my skillset is, so it will be a good test against a veteran guy – but he’s also got all the wear and tear from being in the UFC for the past nine, 10 years, that I don’t have coming in at 20. We’ll see how it goes.”
In other prelims action, Cody Stamann will fight with a heavy heart when he takes on Brian Kelleher.
Stamann’s 18-year-old brother, Jacob, passed away on May 27 and the featherweight plans to compete at UFC 250 in his honour.
"I just looked at it like, what would my brother want me to do?" Stamann told ESPN. "This is something that's important to my family, important to a lot of people that are close to me in my life. Who would I be if I said, 'This is too much, I can't do my job.'? A lot of people have to do their jobs regardless of things going on. I'm privileged to have the athletic career that I have, to have the family that I have, to have all these things.
The 30-year-old fought to a majority draw against Song Yadong in his last outing in December. He defeated Alejandro Perez at UFC 235 before that fight.
Kelleher is on a two-fight winning streak, with victories over Ode Osbourne and Hunter Azure in his last two bouts.
Ian Heinisch will face Gerald Meerschaert and Charles Byrd will take on Maki Pitolo to complete the prelims card.
The early prelims will consist of Jussier Formiga against Alex Perez, Alonzo Menifield vs. Devin Clark and Evan Dunham facing Herbert Burns to kick off the entire event on TSN1, TSN4 and TSN5.