This week has been filled with a lot of lasts for me. My last wrestling session, my last sparring session, they’re all sneaking up on me now. My time here at ATT is coming to an end, and who knows when I’ll be back here.
The UFC have been here doing some promo filming etc. They took Marc Diakiese and myself to the beach, and bowling – of course, I beat him. It’s nice that the UFC are still investing their time and resources in me, even though they know this will be my last fight. I hope that generosity extends to my leaving present, I assume I’ll wake up to find a nice Audi Q7 on my drive way on March 19!
In all honesty, I have no complaints whatsoever about my time at the UFC. I’ve always said that getting to the UFC is the easy part, it’s staying there that’s difficult. And one way or another, I’ve made it through and now I get to retire on my own terms – that means a lot to me.
It’s been great to have Dana White be so supportive of me and vocal about enjoying my fights. In a job like this, there’s not much job security, but it’s always a boost to your confidence when the big boss praises your fight style. It also means a lot to me because he’s someone who’s been in the game a long time; he knows what he’s talking about and I really respect his opinion. He’s a very genuine and honest man – I’ve always known where I stand with him. I’m intrigued to see what he does next – whether he’ll stay at the UFC or ride off into the sunset.
I’ve always had a great relationship with the UK team at the UFC too. There’s a lot of people that work very hard behind the scenes, who the fans don’t always get to see or hear about. All the guys in the PR team, Sarah and Vicky have been amazing to work with. I get on great with James Elliot too – I try to just have a good time with everybody I work with to be honest – it makes life easier and more enjoyable, and now I’m leaving with a lot of happy memories!
When I was first in the UFC there weren’t many other British fighters – Bisping, Pearson, Hardy and me! A few others have come and gone over the years, but now I feel like the talent pool is growing, and not only that, I believe it’s sustainable. These guys will be more than a flash in the pan and I think they’ll continue to put the UK on the map as far as MMA goes. I can’t really take credit for it unfortunately, but I’m very pleased that I’m leaving things in a better way than how I found them!
I fly home this Friday and I will have a very busy week ahead of me. The promo is starting to stack up already, and I can’t wait to spend some time with Sarah and Buddy. I’ll try to take in every moment, as I know it will all be over before I know it!
I’ll keep you guys posted throughout the week where I’ll be appearing – signings, open work outs etc, but I hope by now you guys know that I’m really happy to chat and take pictures whenever I have the time! See you next week!
P.S Don’t forget, if you order a shirt now you’ll still get it in time for your fight, and you can wear it to my official afterparty!