After 25-second KO, Khalid Taha ready for anyone – but not ready to call someone out

ATLANTA – Khalid Taha went to work Saturday night like he had someplace else to be, is how the phrase usually goes.

Taha (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) picked one impressive way to get his first UFC win when he took out the favored Boston Salmon (6-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in just 25 seconds with a TKO at UFC 236, which took place at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

And though Salmon popped up afterward and seemed to try to petition referee Blake Grice that he had stopped it to early, the replays seemed to show him going limp from some clean strikes – which Taha and his team said afterward may have been the cleanest knockout he’s ever produced.

And while Taha probably wouldn’t have wanted to bet on getting a finish that quickly, he wasn’t that surprised by it, either.

“If two strikers collide together, it can be 15 minutes or war, or it can be like that,” Taha told MMA Junkie after his win. “We expected everything, we trained for everything, we were prepared for everything. I knew if I hit him with my hard punches, he could go down – and it happened.”

Taha debuted in the promotion in July 2018 at UFC Fight Night 134 in Hamburg in his native Germany. He was a slight underdog to Nad Narimani and dropped a unanimous decision. But that fight was at featherweight since Taha took the bout on only about three weeks’ notice.

Against Salmon, he was back at his natural bantamweight division, and that’s where he plans on staying. But he also knows that first loss to Narimani had him probably being overlooked against Salmon, who was fighting for the first time since July 2017.

In fact, Taha and Salmon were supposed to fight this past November before Taha tore his ACL and needed time to recover. Once he did, he was back in a big way.

“I had my debut in the featherweight division and I came from a loss,” Taha said. “… I was the underdog and I showed that means nothing. The bantamweight division is my division.”

But don’t expect the 26-year-old German to start calling anyone out at 135 pounds now that he’s got his first win in the UFC. He’ll let the chips fall where they may for now.

“I don’t think I’m in a position now to challenge someone – I have one victory,” he said. I really don’t care.”

For more from Taha, including his thoughts on recently suspended former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 236, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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