A lot has been made of the fact that title belts are changing hands faster than fighters are changing socks in the #UFC, so I’m pretty proud to be among the select few that have managed to defend their belt. I’m back in the states now, if only briefly before my next trip abroad, but I’m back at the house with the family, enjoying the champion life.
Several people have asked me my thoughts on the fight, so I’ll just lay those out right here in my blog.
The fight started exactly how I thought it would—with me in control. Of course, he’s built a career on that right hand, and to be honest, it’s a damned good right hand. He has good timing, I said that going into the fight, and he demonstrated it. He timed it well, hit me with a good right hand that brought me down. He followed it up…we all saw what happened.
Here’s the thing, though. I was fully aware at all times. I was never out of the fight or anything like that. I didn’t see that right hand coming. That’s why at the end of the first round, that one was able to get through—because I didn’t see it. It’s the ones you don’t see that get you. If you saw it coming, then obviously, you’d get the hell out of the way, and it wouldn’t have caught you.
So, he hit me, and he got some good ground-and-pound shots on me; he opened that big cut on my eye with an elbow, and he had a good moment there, but once I got back to my feet, I was totally fine.
When the bell rang at the end of the first, I went back to my corner and just smiled. I thought to myself, ‘Shit, that wasn’t the plan, but I survived it. I did better than survive it. I feel fine.’ He won that first round 10-9, because for it to be a 10-8, you’ve got to beat somebody from pillar to post for most or all of the round. He had 45 seconds of good action.
In round two, I dominated the round, I had him backing up, I had him against the fence and was picking him apart. Damned if he didn’t catch me with that right hand again, but this time, he didn’t get the chance to follow it up because we kind of stalled out in guard.
To be honest, I feel like I won that round, too. He only had one good shot. Either way, it was close.
Rounds three, four and five…I won all of them. I wasn’t as active as I would’ve liked in round five, but I feel like I won the round. My right eye had swollen pretty much shut by this point, and I was having a lot of trouble seeing, so I was a little more cautious.
He’s as tough as old boots, and I knew that going in. He’s still got it, that’s for sure. That said, the fight pretty much went how I thought it would, apart from those two right hands. Obviously I didn’t plan on those, but outside those rights, he didn’t really do much. My boxing coach said, ‘You can’t win a 25-minute fight by winning two minutes of the action.’
You don’t judge fights on damage. That damage came from two blows. They were big blows, but they didn’t finish me. They didn’t even come close. You can’t ignore the other 23 minutes of the fight that I controlled.
Anybody that thinks Dan won that fight…quite frankly, you guys are crazy. Of course, Dan is going to say that because it was in England, the judges were partial to me. They were the same judges that score many, many UFC events. It’s not like they rounded up three blokes from Manchester just for this fight. There’s a thing called an airplane, and those judges were flown out to score that bout.
Dan can try to come up with whatever excuses he wants to discredit my win, the fact of the matter is, he should be gracious in defeat. I won, fair and square. He put on a great performance, I won’t deny it. Well done to you, Dan, but guess what? It just wasn’t enough. They got it right on the #scorecard.