Louis Smolka headed into his contest against Brandon Moreno last October with a long win streak and a head full of steam. He left the Octagon with a shocking submission loss and a case of depression, however.
As Smolka attempts a quick turnaround in returning to action this Friday at #UFC207 against Ray Borg, he told Champions Wed. in Las Vegas that he needed time to wallow in his sorrows after losing to Moreno.
“I drank a lot. That was pretty much how I got over it. I just cried for a while,” he admitted (below).
“I care a lot about this. I put a lot into the camp…I worked really hard and I gave it my all. To work that hard and then lose, you know, I feel like anyone would take the loss pretty hard. I don’t blame anyone for taking a loss hard, especially in this sport. We give a lot to this. I think that if you do care, you will probably cry. You will go sulk in a corner for a while. It’s just part of a grieving process. You have to let nature run its course.”
Once Smolka had done enough grieving he got back into the gym and says he’s been able to enjoy himself again. “I do feel like I’m a pretty creative fighter,” he told Champions earlier this month.
“I’ve hit a Saenchai kick and finished a fight with a side kick. I don’t know if anyone else in the UFC has finished a fight with a side kick. So, I enjoy being creative but I think I got away from that a bit, for awhile, during my win streak. After losing, I do feel like I’ve gotten back to learning more, developing my skills and experimenting. So, hopefully my creativity will show in the fight, again.”
Smolka will bring his usual aggression and creativity to the fight, Friday, and also a new, more balanced mindset. Prior to losing to Moreno this fall, Smolka was riding a four-fight win streak and calling for a title-shot against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Goals are good to have, but the Hawaiian says he learned to keep them more immediate and focused. “It can be easy to get over-confident when you’re winning,” he admitted.
“You’ve got people telling you, ‘you’ve won four-straight, you deserve a title-shot!’ And then you think, ‘yeah, I do deserve a title shot.’ It is a balance in MMA, mentally, because you absolutely need a lot of confidence to fight. Yet, you can’t allow yourself to get too over confident. I think the key is to be confident based on your training, and then focus on what’s in front of you.”
What is in front of the flyweight contender, now, is another tough opponent on a huge stage. Though Smolka has won four out of his last five contests, he views his UFC 207 fight against Ray Borg as a must-win.
“I do look at this as do or die,” he concluded.
“I think they’re knocking off a contender with this fight.”