Despite the fact that Alexandr Romanov is one of the event's heavy favorites, Marcin Tybura is confident in his chances at UFC 278.
The preliminary card in Salt Lake City comes to a finish as heavyweights Tybura (22-7 MMA, 9-6 UFC) and Romanov (16-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) square off inside Vivint Arena. Romanov claims that a victory over Tybura will propel him to the next level of heavyweights, but Tybura believes that Romanov should slow down on the concept of an ascent.
“He was scheduled to fight me for his first fight int he UFC, and he had to pull out,” Tybura said at Wednesday’s UFC 278 media day. “We’ve been checking him, and I actually follow him – he’s 16-0, quite impressive. I never reject fights. I got an offer and I agreed.
“I think he deserves it, and it’s a good matchup for me, too. I see me as a big thing (instead of him). 16-0 is a big thing in this division. I think he still needs something more than he’s shown right now. There’s lots of craziness in his fights, lots of things that I see that aren’t right. … Maybe he’ll come to the title picture, but he’ll need more time after me.”
Tybura's return to action was expected to occur much sooner than Saturday. Despite losing to former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov in October 2021, he agreed to face Jairzinho Rozenstruik in February 2022. Since then, the fight has been rescheduled for April, but Romanov ultimately had to bail.
It will have been over nine months since he last played a role in the Romanov conflict before he makes his return. Tybura has only experienced such a lengthy layoff once before in his professional career. Nonetheless, he is making an effort to divert his attention away from the bad and toward the challenge that Romanov represents.
“It’s been a rough time lately – a long time out of the octagon,” he said. “Things happen. I’m not thinking about them anymore. The past is the past. I try to live in the present. I’m here, I’m ready, focused and happy."