01 Jan Khama Worthy hopes to earn future matchup with ‘f*ckin savage’ Kevin Lee
Khama Worthy defeating Luis Pena at UFC on ESPN 12 didn’t surprise a lot of people. Winning by submission? That certainly did—not including Worthy, himself.
“The Deathstar” improved to 2-0 in his UFC career with a third-round guillotine finish over Pena on the featured preliminary bout this past Saturday. Worthy has won seven straight and proved that he is much more than “a knockout artist.”
“I train out of Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania has some of the best wrestlers in the world,” Worthy told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I’ve done my whole career here, in Pittsburgh and Ohio. Do you know how many wrestlers I’ve run into? There’s a D-1 wrestler on every f*ckin corner with his ears all f*ckin messed up. They’re all over the f*ckin place so you have to learn how to deal with high-level grappling fighting out of P.A., even if you are a high-level striker like myself.”
When Aljamain Sterling submitted Cody Stamann at UFC 228 with a Suloev Stretch, he nicknamed the maneuver “The Funk Strudel.”
Worthy was asked what he would name is modified guillotine choke and felt there was only one name that made sense.
“‘Oh, Sh*t,’” Worthy exclaimed. “That’s what everyone was saying when I got it. They were like, ‘Oh, sh*t. What the hell was that?’ We’ll just call it the ‘Oh, Sh*t.’”
In a sport like mixed martial arts, the athletes involved are their own worst critics. Despite having a performance that was widely praised amongst the MMA community, Worthy gave an himself an average grade, while giving credit to his teammates and training partners.
“I gave myself a C+,” Worthy explained. “I was so worried about his D’arce that I didn’t trust my jiu-jitsu.
“But we’re in a fight, and it goes back to my training partners. If you come into my gym, you’re going to get f*cked up and you’re going to get used to being f*cked up. You get used to that feeling so that, when you’re in a fight, it’s not a foreign feeling for you. A lot of fighters, I see, get pushed to that point when a guy’s gonna take their head off and it’s like, ‘Oh, sh*t. I’ve never been here before.’
“I’m there, like, two to three times a week. My man’s trying to kill me. It’s just the way it is.”
Following the win, Worthy spoke with the media backstage at the UFC APEX and explained that he’s not necessarily looking to become a world champion, but is hoping to be involved in exciting matchups. Specifically, he’s looking for Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald like battles in the octagon.
When asked what he was looking for next, he his hoping to be rebooked with his original UFC 249 opponent, Ottman Azaitar, or other fights that will have fans reacting in a positive way.
“I definitely want to get Azaitar,” Worthy stated. “He has a 90-percent knockout ratio. I’m like, ‘Oh, f*ck. All right,’ that’s the sh*t that gets me up in the morning to go jog 20 miles or some sh*t. That’s what I want to see.
“Also, Yancy (Medeiros). Anybody who f*cks with the Diaz brothers is a f*ckin savage. I don’t think he could ever drop to 55 because he’s f*ckin huge, but I’d love to fight him. I got to meet him in my last fight and I was like, ‘There’s no way that mother f*cker is making 55.’
“I just want fun fights man. Of course, everybody wants to win, but there’s some fighters that are boring as f*ck. Like, dude, who wants to watch that sh*t? How do you go home after winning a fight like that when the crowd’s booing you and sh*t? I’d rather fight guys that are fun fights, plus I want to take my time and get my proper place in the UFC, while getting interesting fights.”
Worthy got on UFC fans’ radar with a first-round finish of Devonte Smith at UFC 241 this past August. The 33-year-old believes he isn’t sniffing the top-15 just yet, but with a few more impressive wins under his belt, some of those bigger names could be at his disposal.
There is one fight he hopes to earn down the road against a fellow 155er that he has a lot of respect for.
“I don’t really like calling out top-10, 15 guys and sh*t like that,” Worthy said. “Of course, the guy who’s a f*ckin savage who I’ve been a big fan of forever is Kevin Lee.
“Kevin Lee is a f*ckin monster. That would be one hell of a task if I got to that point. To prepare for him, I’d have to go into the mountains for Kevin Lee. I don’t think that guy gets the credit he deserves. He’s a f*ckin monster. He’s a freak of nature.
“Obviously, guys like Poirier and Hooker, those type of guys. You get near either of them, it’s like, ‘Somebody’s gonna f*ckin die tonight.’ I like those types of fights. But now, I look at the guys that are more at my level. If I get two more wins, I might be able to make that jump—but I’d like to make it with the proper financial stability.”