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The boys all switched to southpaw for me, so I could get some practice against Misha’s stance.


It was an unreal four weeks and what I learned from the whole experience is that there’s a reason why Rob is the best in the world. I like to think that I’m always the hardest working person in the room but seeing what Rob and the other boys put themselves through, I realised that they have exactly the same mentality as I do.


When you have a room full of people like that, you constantly have to lift and go up new levels.


Rob’s a great bloke as well. Sitting down to talk with him, you wouldn’t think that he’s world champion, because he’s such a humble guy. His work ethic is what sets him apart.


After finishing up in Sydney, I was able to head back to Victoria with some fresh ideas.


My training has been psychotic. I’ve been doing three hard sessions a day, every day. I’ve been exhausted when I’ve not been training.


I’ve had a 14-week camp, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been in this kind of shape ever before.





Misha Cirkunov is a big powerhouse of a human. He’s got very high-level grappling skills and dangerous hands.


I’ll have to be careful of his explosiveness on the feet and of his recklessness as well. On the ground, he’s a high-level black belt in jiu-jitsu and judo.


But I feel I’m a much faster fighter than him. And on the feet my skillset is far better. I’m more versatile and I don’t throw the same thing over and over again.


And most importantly, I’ve got my heart. When it gets tough in there, I’ll pull through while he’ll fade and look for a way out. Even if he’s ready for three hard rounds, I still don’t think he’s done the preparation that I have.


More than just my power, it’s my speed that he’s got to worry about. Once I crack him a few times, he’s either going to shoot or try and brawl. Either way, I’m not going to be there for him. I’ll be out of the way.


If he manages to take me down, he’s going to have to deal with a lot of problems there as well.


A lot of people, including myself, forget that I’m really good at jiu-jitsu. I’m a black belt with a few submissions to my name. I can hang with anyone on the ground.


He’s skilled, but if I bring my A-game I know that I’ll make him look not-so-flash.


He’s a top-15 fighter, which is what I wanted. This is my chance to go out there and show Jimmy Crute to the world.


When I first started in this sport, I never gave a shit about fighting for titles. Even now, it’s not a driving factor. But it’s getting closer and it’s a strong possibility for me to be considered the best in the world one day.


But for now, I’m just going to continue winning fights one at a time and eventually that will happen. I’m about to crack the top 15 at 23 years of age. I’m still four years out of my prime. There’s no limit to what I can accomplish in this sport.


You could fight 10 bums in the UFC and not get the experience that I’ve had from my first two outings. I beat Paul Craig and Sam Alvey, two UFC veterans.


Sam in particular has had more fights in the UFC than I’ve had in my whole MMA career. Looking back on my performances against Paul and Sam, I know that I’m here for a reason.


I can hang with the elite guys and make them look very average.




MY $50,000 LESSON

When I knock Misha Cirkunov unconscious this weekend and then hit him with follow-up shots, don’t blame me.


Blame Sam Alvey.


He made such a fuss when he should have just taken that loss like a man. He wasn’t defending himself and if I hadn’t walked off when I dropped him the first time, he would have been out cold.


When I hit him and he went down, I was about to jump on him when the referee Mark Goddard, who I rate highly, came flying in. I saw Sam faceplant for the second time and thought ‘see you later’.


But when I turned around again, he was back to his feet and the ref had stepped away. The fight was still on, so I went in and got the finish properly.


The whole thing looked a bit messy and the experience was the massive kick up the arse I needed. It was my mistake.


A walk-off knockout would have been cool, but I should have finished the fight before celebrating. It cost me a $50,000 bonus for ‘Performance of the Night’, which I should have won anyway, because I went in there and put him away without even taking a hit.


But what can you do? I’m not in it for the money anyway.


Nothing made me realise the error of my ways more than hearing what Sam Greco had to say to me back in the changerooms after the fight. He was stoked for me, but he made sure I understood that as a professional fighter, this is my job, my career. I need to finish the fight.


If I ever walk away from a finish again, I’ll have to answer to Sam.


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