ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Canadian welterweight Jesse (The Body Snatcher) Ronson didn’t look out of place in his return to the UFC.
Ronson was back in the UFC octagon Saturday six years after his last bout for the organization, and claimed a first-round submission victory against Denmark’s Nicolas (Lokomotivo) Dalby on a UFC Fight Night undercard on Fight Island.
After dropping his opponent to the mat with a strong left punch, Ronson (22-10-0) submitted Dalby (18-4-1) with a rear-naked choke just 2:48 into the fight.
"I was so nervous for this because it’s a life-long goal to get back here, took so long to get back here, and I was so nervous," said Ronson.
"It feels so good, I’ve waited seven years for this. I feel that, where my skills are at right now, I’m only going to get better and I’ve got to make the most of my time."
The 34-year-old from London, Ont., who moved up a weight class to take on Dalby, was stepping in for the injured Danny (Hot Chocolate) Roberts.
Ronson lost three straight in the UFC in 2013-14 and was 8-5 since leaving the organization while balancing training and delivering cleaning supplies as a day job.
"I could have done better and next time I will," said Ronson. "When I get back to 155, my real weight class, you’re going to see, there’s going to be no hesitation because I’m not afraid of anyone’s punches or power or strength or anything like that."
The UFC reached out to Ronson on 11 days notice for the UFC 231 in December 2018. He accepted, but couldn’t make weight and the UFC moved on.
The main event at Yas Island was to feature middleweight contenders Robert (The Reaper) Whittaker and Darren (The Gorilla) Till.
Meanwhile, Canadian heavyweight Tanner (The Bulldozer) Boser beat Brazil’s Raphael (Bebezao) Pessoa by second-round knockout on the undercard.
Boser (19-6-1) clipped Pessoa (10-2) with a strong left hook that sent the Brazilian into the cage before falling to the mat, where the Canadian continued to punch until it was over.
"I felt my hand go into his eye, so I don’t know if there’s damage in his orbital bone or something, but it was a solid shot, I felt it on my knuckles," said Boser.
"That was all strategic, I’m never the bigger guy, I have to be strategic, I have to win with smarts and the skillset that I have."
The 28-year-old from Bonnyville, Alta., who now calls Edmonton home, was coming off a sensational first-round knockout win June 27 over Philipe (Monstro) Lins.
Both Canadians flew to Las Vegas for COVID-19 testing and quarantines before jetting to Abu Dhabi for more of the same ahead of the fight card.