Ultimate Fighting Championship

Fil-Aussie Josh Culibao raring to notch first UFC win

Delfin Dioquino
Fil-Aussie Josh Culibao raring to notch first UFC win

ROLE MODEL. Josh Culibao hopes to inspire the next generation of Filipino MMA fighters.

Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images/UFC

Filipino-Australian Josh Culibao says he plans on 'absolutely dominating' his fight against Chinese Yilan Sha as he guns for his maiden UFC victory

Filipino-Australian Josh “Kuya” Culibao has learned a valuable lesson in his young UFC career: never leave the fight for the judges to decide.

Culibao yearns to notch his first win inside the octagon as he tangles with Chinese Yilan Sha in a lightweight bout that will serve as one of the undercards of UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt in Las Vegas on May 22.

Undefeated in his first eight professional fights, the 26-year-old has yet to pull off a victory in the UFC.

He suffered a second-round stoppage loss to American Jalin Turner in his UFC debut in February 2020 and settled for a split draw with Canadian Charles Jourdain in October 2020.

“This fight, I’m not looking to leave it in the hands of the judges. I do not want them to decide whether I win or lose,” Culibao told Rappler in a video conference facilitated by UFC Asia.

Aside from bagging his maiden UFC victory, Culibao is also determined to end a two-year win drought.

“It has been a while since I’ve actually had my hand raised,” Culibao said. “It is a bit frustrating. But it is something I’m looking forward to – having my actual first win in the UFC.”

Although Sha (19-6-0) is riding on a two-fight winning streak, Culibao (8-1-1) has no doubts that he will put on a masterclass.

“I plan on absolutely dominating this fight from start to finish,” he said.

“Hopefully, this guy has a chin so I can go three rounds because I’m planning to put some serious damage on this guy.”

Filipino roots

Even though born and raised in Australia, Culibao – whose father is from Pampanga and whose mother is from Boracay – still keeps in touch with his Filipino roots.

“It is a massive thing for me to be able to have the Philippines and Australia on my back,” Culibao said.

“To me, it is a massive blessing on my part where I’m able to hopefully inspire the next generation of Filipino MMA fighters.”

In fact, Culibao made kuya (older brother) his moniker even if he is the youngest of four siblings.

“At the gym, there were a few Filipinos that used to call me kuya because I used to call them kuya as a sign of respect. They just started to call me kuya and it kind of just stuck.,” Culibao said.

Once he clinches that coveted UFC win, Culibao already has an idea how he will celebrate.

“Maybe after the fight, I’ll have some Filipino food, especially adobo, that is my go-to.” – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.