For four years as a kickboxer I would fight every weekend and not place once. Between the ages of eight and 12, I got nothing. Not a third place, not second place – nothing for four years straight.
I would return from every tournament in a van full of my siblings and teammates who had just won multiple medals and trophies. So no, I’m not fazed by the loss to Douglas Lima. I’m used to losing. I went through four years of having my ass handed to me every single weekend. I always knew I would have the right mentality when I lost my first MMA fight. There have been no tears. I would be upset if it was a s*** performance, but instead I really am feeling pumped.
Fighting isn’t about winning to me. I was always tied to it by my family. It was something we did together, me, my brothers, my parents and my sisters. Even when I lost, I’d have to stick around to watch the older kids and adults in action. It was enjoyable, regardless of whether I was winning or losing.
The defeat, I feel, was down to my own mistake. I was dominating him up until the stoppage. I made a stupid error. I did get swept, but the way I got up lost me the fight. My coach said it to me after, I stood up recklessly because I was getting so much success against him.
I felt a few more shots and that fight was over for him. I didn’t want to lose the momentum, and in the moment of excitement and confidence, I tried to pop straight back up. When you’re competing at that level, one mistake is all it takes for a fighter like him to capitalise. I rocked him moments before and he was still dizzy when he was celebrating. It’s a game of inches. But really, of anyone I could have lost to, I’m happy it was Lima. He’s a great guy and fantastic martial artist.
Lima caught MVP when he was standing back up (Picture: Bellator)I’m a person who tries to learn in wins and losses. I’ve always been quite hard on myself when I watch back fights. I don’t need to lose to get a learning curve. But, 100 per cent this is a loss I will learn from. I’m seriously very happy with my performance. I answered a lot of questions about what level I’m at. You can really see I’m up there with everybody. The response from people has been unexpected. I know I’m the fighter people love to hate, but the feedback online has been crazy positive.
Small moments change big fights and I made the mistake.
Changes to make
‘There’s not much I will change. Lima’s kick was well timed and caught me out, but I willingly gave him that shot. When I feel I’ve got someone clocked, I give them a shot I know they will want to take. I did that with Lima in preparation to try and trade the shot, but because I was over confident, I sat way too close to him. I didn’t have enough time to read it, and if I sat back a little bit further, he would have had to step in to get into range and that would have given me enough time to block the kick. I would have landed the shot I was going for. That could have been the shot that finished it in my favour. But being in the pocket, I got swept and over excitement made me stand up immediately. I need to adjust my mindset so I’m more disciplined in those moments. It felt literally like I was at the finishing line and someone kicked my legs from under me. But one thing I might do is drill getting back to my feet, so I won’t make that mistake again, because it’ll become second nature to be cautious.’
My goal now is to get a fight back in, get back to winning ways as soon as possible and then I really want a rematch with Lima. I feel he probably has one more fight in him after the tournament, which I do think he can win. Whether he’s champion or not, I want to rectify that result. From there, my next fight should be against whoever has the title.
MVP wants a rematch with Lima (Picture: Bellator)It will be a big comeback. November in London is my target. I want a big fight to come back in, but I don’t class Paul Daley as that. I was very disappointed in how he played our fight. Me and my team agree, we don’t want to do that fight again just for the sake of it. There’s no point. I want to fight someone who is going to bring their A-game and not be tactical. I want a big name fight and that would be Andrey Koreshkov, Lorenz Larkin or Jon Fitch. Those are the top guys, it should be one of them, not Daley.
View from Old Trafford
Swansea star James is set to be United’s first signing this summer (Picture: Getty)You’ve got to ignore these crazy transfer stories. We’ve seen time and time again players use the interest of Manchester United to drive up their wages at other clubs. What we do need is an out-and-out goalscorer who knows how to finish, another Ruud van Nistelrooy – a man made for the big games. We need someone in the centre of the park that can set Paul Pogba lose. Someone like Luka Modric, a guy who can find the pass. Fred was meant to be that player… that hasn’t worked out so far.
We need a centre-back, Phil Jones needs to leave. We’ve given him enough chances to step up. But most of all, we need a leader. I like Ashley Young, but he’s not captain material. Is he going to motivate the team? We’ll be linked to bloody everybody this summer, but until someone is doing their medical, I take no notice. Daniel James appears to be coming in and I’m not sure about that. We’ve got so many youngsters coming through, like Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong. The future of Manchester United is bright, but we’re concerned with results right now. I’m never mad at bringing in fresh blood, but he’s not going to be the game-changer needed.
Big signings will be difficult to get done and it could be a disappointing summer for us United fans. I’m happy with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but he needs time. We can’t be impatient. Imagine if we’d sacked Alex Ferguson in 1990? But, I do fear for Ole if the team is out of the top six at Christmas time. If he’s doing absolutely terrible, yes change it, but we need to give someone time to make a difference. Otherwise we’ll just be starting all over again – again.
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