There is every chance you may not have heard the name Joaquin Buckley six months ago, with even the most ardent MMA fan forgiving you.
The former Bellator and Legacy Fighting Alliance and middleweight secured back-to-back stoppages with the LFA and finally got his chance with the UFC in 2020.
Buckley is back on Fight Island and desperate to make headlines againGetty Images – Getty
However, his dream debut did not go entirely to plan as the dangerous and charismatic Kevin Holland knocked Buckley at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Just two months later, ‘New Mansa’ found himself more than 7,500 miles away from his home in St Louis, Missouri on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
The opportunity to secure redemption and finally claim a coveted victory in the UFC may have forced less durable fighters to crumble under the pressure.
But Buckley managed to make the world step up and take notice with his sensational knockout of Impa Kasanganay.
Buckley’s spinning back kick left Impa Kasanganay prone on the deckGetty Images – Getty
After having a switch kick caught, and with a possible takedown incoming, Buckley pirouetted gracefully using his stationary right foot and – just before his left foot hit the canvas – fired a spinning back kick which exploded onto Kasanganay’s chin.
In doing so, Buckley managed to change his life completely; Dana White personally went to congratulate the superstar afterwards, while there was a wave of positive reaction on social media.
White told TMZ Sports that even President Donald Trump was impressed by the knockout, with superstar Kanye West later releasing ‘theme music’ and played the knockout on a loop with his new track.
Despite his superstar status, Buckley told talkSPORT he is still content to temporarily work at pharmaceutical chain Walgreens.
President Donald Trump reached out to Dana White after seeing Buckley’s KOGetty Images – Getty
THE WHOLE TEAM IS SO ENERGIZED THAT I HAD TO RELEASE THEME MUSIC NAH NAH NAH pic.twitter.com/p3NhTV11cN
— ye (@kanyewest) October 14, 2020
He said: “I’m a temp so whenever they need some help, I throw my little grey vest on and I go over there and help them out real quick.”
When asked what it would take to leave his job there, he quickly responded with ‘$200,000.’
As well as the praise and the accolades (including the UFC Knockout of The Year award), Buckley still manages to remain humble throughout his continued success.
“I’ve got to enjoy it,” he continued. “I’ve got to have fun with it; me winning that award is a big deal, it’s history-making.
‘New Mansa’ then knocked out Jordan Wright at the UFC Apex to end 2020 with a bangGetty Images – Getty
“That’s going to go down for a very long time and people will look back at that and say how amazing that moment was.
“So, for me, I just got to enjoy the moment, but not bask in it. So it happened and we move onto the next.”
What came next for Buckley was a knockout win over Jordan Wright at UFC 255, again on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
‘New Mansa’ will kick off 2021 exactly how he finished 2020 when he takes on Alessio Di Chirico on Saturday night on the undercard of Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar.
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He continued: “I think I saw his fight before with Zak Cummings, before I even knew he was. It was a boring fight.
“It was back and forth, but Zak Cummings ended up giving him a nice little shot in the third round of the match which really showed Alessio’s chin is probably very compromised.
“And I am looking to show that in this fight.”
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