Dan Ige
Dan Ige

Coach Takes Responsibility for Dan Ige’s Loss at UFC 303

Coach Eric Nicksick regrets head kick advice leading to UFC 303 loss

Dan Ige stepped into the octagon against Diego Lopes at UFC 303 with only a few hours’ notice. Despite the short preparation time, Ige managed to secure a victory in one of the three rounds by relying on his instincts.

Coach Takes the Blame

Ige’s coach, Eric Nicksick, who has also trained fighters like Francis Ngannou and Sean Strickland, believes he played a role in Ige’s loss. Before the second round, Nicksick suggested that Ige attempt a head kick, an unusual move for him. Ige followed the advice, which led to Lopes securing a takedown and winning the round. Nicksick expressed his regret on the DraftKings YouTube channel, saying,

“If I’m being honest, I’ve had a few sleepless nights because I messed up before the round. I suggested a head kick in the second round. Something I believed in because no one had seen Dan do it before.”

He continued, “He kicked, the shin landed on the guy’s head, but we got taken down. I looked over at Kai and was like: I messed up the fight for us. My stomach, I ruined it for the guy, my heart hurt.”



Lopes Wins by Unanimous Decision

Lopes maintained control for the rest of the second round and although he didn’t finish Ige, it was clear that Lopes won the round. Ige dominated the third round but ultimately lost via unanimous decision because he dropped the first two rounds.

Nicksick’s Reflections Post-Fight

In the post-fight press conference, Nicksick delved deeper into the strategy and his feelings about the outcome. He acknowledged that the short-notice nature of the fight added to the challenge but maintained that his coaching advice was a critical turning point. Nicksick stated,

“Going into Round 2, I felt I had to get Dan’s attention on some of the defensive stuff, and that’s where I believe I miscalculated. Diego was setting him up well, and my suggestion played right into that.”

Nicksick’s analysis highlighted how the adrenaline and high-stakes atmosphere can impact decision-making, both for fighters and coaches. This incident has prompted him to reflect on how to better prepare for such unexpected scenarios in future bouts.

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