The Ultimate Fighter serves as a launching pad for a lot of fighters making their way into the UFC.
Some come on the show with little experience, some with a lot, but when the cameras start rolling and the footage finds its way to the airwaves, almost every single person that’s ever been on has been remembered in one way or another.
For season 14 fighter Bryan Caraway, he was portrayed as the fighter with extreme mental anguish that got in the way of his best performance in almost every bout.
Looking back on the reality show, Caraway says his pre-fight anxiety being shown to millions of viewers was both a blessing and a curse. In one way, Caraway believes his portrayal wasn’t necessarily the reality of what was going on, but on the positive side it forced him to make the changes necessary to get past that stress.
“I actually got that under control,” Caraway admitted when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio about his anxiety. “GSP, a lot of high level athletes, Lance Armstrong, they all talked to mental psychologists. It wasn’t because I was weak, it’s because I was trying to get that edge. I think it really helped.”
Caraway has been reading renowned self-help guru Tony Robbins and others in an effort to keep his brain moving in a positive manner as opposed to focusing on the negative. To hear him tell it, the anxiety had nothing to do with fighting, but more to do with wins and losses.
Now that he’s found a way to get past that, Caraway is ready to begin a new life at UFC 149, while also starting in a new weight class as he debuts at 135 pounds.
“I’ve just never felt this good mentally; I never felt this positive,” said Caraway. “I really feel 135 is going to be a huge home for me; I think I’m going to do big things there. This is definitely going to be a changing of things.”
Heading into the Calgary card, Caraway will face local fighter Mitch Gagnon, who brings with him an 8-1 record and a tried and true fan base from the area.
Like any fighter, Caraway has gone through the meticulous process of finding out everything he can about an opponent, digging into the minutia of what exactly makes Gagnon tick as a fighter, and he believes he found a weakness.
“He comes out using a lot of strength, he tries to muscle guys around and I think he was able to get away with that on the lower circuit. By looking at his fight record it looks like every single guy that he’s fought has been a Canadian, his small Canadian area guys, except for Will Romero, who is in Bellator and he actually lost to him,” said Caraway.
“I think he’s gotten away with being an athlete and being very physical and strong.”
Now there’s nothing wrong with being physical or strong in a fight, but Caraway sees Gagnon’s eight wins over eight opponents he’s not really ever heard of and starts to wonder how the local Canadian will deal with the big show pressure and a big show opponent.
“I looked at the guys he fought and it looks like he was a big fish in a small pond,” Caraway stated. “That doesn’t mean he can’t be a world class guy, he might be able to. I just think he hasn’t fought that high of level of competition; he got away with being athletic and being physically strong.
“I think his strength is his strength, and I don’t think it’s going to work at this level and it’s not going to work against me.”
Caraway will try to prove he’s right when he faces Gagnon at UFC 149 in Calgary on Saturday night.
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