It was great to see the UFC announce a Nottingham card recently. I’m over the moon to be fighting on that card. The loss in Birmingham was a tough time for me but it’s something I want to put right. It was strange to be fighting on home soil after being in the WEC and it definitely meant more pressure.
Most fighters will say fighting on home soil is a double-edged sword. Sure, you have fantastic home support, but the expectation is so much higher. It means more press time and media attention, more work in the build up to the fight. I’m usually very good with pressure but the Birmingham fight put me to the test.
It did make me realize that being a main draw on home soil is probably very similar to the pressures of a title fight. In that sense I say the more the better, I’ve learned from last time so it would be awesome to go through the process again. Developing as a fighter isn’t just about what we do in the gym. The role comes with all kinds of pressures and the more you can take them in your stride the more focused you’ll be when the cage door shuts.
Being in Vegas recently to corner my good buddy and training partner Mike Brown was no different. It was a must win fight for him and I was way more nervous than I am for my own fights. Playing the waiting game and going through the build up for the fight definitely put me in the mood for a scrap.
A fight fan came up to me while I was out there and asked me to sign a UFC encyclopedia. This book had everything in it from the very beginning! It was awesome and I want one. It might sound strange to some people but even though I’m fighting in the UFC it doesn’t stop me being a huge fan. I still go hunting autographs like a big kid and I know Ian Freeman’s in the book, so as soon as I get one I’m heading down to a UCMMA to get his scribble.
It was great to catch up with Dan Hardy before and after his fight at UFC 146. As much as I wanted Browny to win, if there was one other guy I was rooting for it was Dan. I know how much pressure I felt after losing two in a row so it was great to see him come out the way he did and impose his personality on the sport again, finishing it off with a superb knockout. Diversity is one of the great things about MMA and it needs guys like Dan.
As you may have seen from the gigantic vodka shots I posted on twitter, things got a little wild after the fight. I’m ashamed to say we didn’t even drink that much but I’m not just a bantamweight fighter. If you train all the time drinking is a rarity so when you do have a tipple it hits you like a front kick to the face. I would love to fill you in on the details but they are gone.
Staying in Vegas for a few days was great. I go to all these great places as a fighter but then end up flying home the day after a fight. We saw the touristy side of Vegas and took a helicopter up to the Grand Canyon, which was a liberating experience.
I’ll be back there soon for the UFC fan expo but for now I’m just ticking things over before my next fight is announced. Working my S&C with the very knowledgeable Tim Benjamin, doing some jits with Jude Samuels, boxing with Matt Walton and sparring with the guys down at Team Titan.
I’ve also got some seminars coming up. I love doing these as teaching and getting questions thrown at me forces me to have a deeper understanding of my methods. Look forward to seeing you if you’re coming along to one.