The legalization of MMA in New York didn’t start and end with #UFC205, and I’m already upstate at another New York event to corner my friend, and longtime training partner, #GianVillante at #UFCAlbany.
Cornering Villante provides some great perspective for me; I get to see one of my best friends go out there and accomplish his dream of fighting in his home state for the first time ever, just like he was there at #MadisonSquareGarden for me. I just hope he really goes out there and does what he’s capable of.
It’s a great experience to be able to corner and help him as much as I can; it’s also very nerve wracking being that close to a fight, watching and wanting him to win. It’s tough, but rewarding, especially with a late-notice replacement after Patrick Cummins got that staph infection.
But, I looked at Villante’s opponent, and I still think it’s a really good fight for him.
After my last fight, it’s been really important for me to surround myself with guys like Villante and my Serra-Longo teammates. And while I remember guys used to take three or four months off after a fight and eat as much food as they could, once I’m medically cleared, I’m getting right back into shape for training. This last loss is really motivating me to go back and do things I used to do in the past, going back to the old me a little bit, the grind.
Part of that grind includes some unfinished business at 185. And while I’ve heard some people saying that I should move up to light heavyweight, my weight cut went pretty smooth my last fight. I felt really good, so one, two, three fights and I’m fighting for the title again. I’ll show a lot, quick.
But getting back to grind also comes with some honest personal evaluation, and there are some things I can change and improve as I start my next run toward the UFC middleweight title.
Back when I was training for my Vitor Belfort fight, I ended up doing a very short, five-week camp, and not going as hard as I usually do. I beat Vitor like that, and I think that kind of carried over to my Luke Rockhold fight, to where I could do less, and there was less chance of getting injured, but not doing as long of a camp.
Then, when I started training for Luke, I tried to do the same thing, and I got injured right away. I wasn’t able to train, and because it was such a short period of time I had until the fight, I think it caught up to me. I kind of got used to doing a little less and getting away with it -- I think that definitely hurt me.
Now, I’m coming off two losses, that’s never happened, but I had some experience losing matches in wrestling, so I know what it takes to get back to the top.
I also know that while I can grind a little bit more in training camp, none of this will affect how I fight inside the Octagon because I don’t like to be boring, I like to always push the action.
Against Yoel Romero, I was looking to finish the fight. In that third round, if I had kept it standing, I probably would have won a decision. He didn’t really hit me with anything on the feet, but I wanted to add in the wrestling and get this guy tired. You have to take those risks, that’s how you get great finishes.
In the end, it didn’t go my way. But, if you want to be great, you can’t be afraid of failure. I wasn’t and I went for it.
So now I’m back to the drawing board to plan my next run up the rankings, and going through fight week with Villante really helps fuel me to get back in the cage as soon as I can -- I even think we’ll start talking with the UFC very soon about my next fight.