Trevor Prangley at UFC 54Nearly 40 bouts into his career, King of the Cage light heavyweight champion Trevor “South African Hammer” Prangley is facing a first, a personal grudge heading into a fight.

The issue stems from a December match when Tony Lopez illegally kneed Prangley, causing an end to their fight. While Prangley won via technical decision and claimed the KOTC 205-pound title, ill will still persists between the two heading into their rematch on Thursday in Cour D’Alene, Idaho.

“I look forward to a lot of my fights just because opportunity-wise, but this is the first time I’ve had any personal stuff going on,” said Prangley. “It probably won’t affect me as much in the fight, but it’s motivated me in training.

“In all honesty, I didn’t afford him the respect cardio-wise and that stuff, and this time I’m not going to make the same mistake. Basically, last time I fought him I trained for three weeks and that was it. I think I’m going to do my best to finish him this time.”

Prangley told MMAWeekly.com that the differences between the last fight and the rematch don’t end there.

“Obviously there’s things I picked up (in the original fight),” said Prangley. “I know what he’s got and what he doesn’t.

“Skill level-wise he’s not on my level at all. He’s one of those guys who stays in there and you wear yourself out beating him up. I’m not looking to make that same mistake this time.”

Currently Prangley is on a five-fight winning streak. And while he says he may no longer be at his peak, he certainly feels better and is enjoying the fight game more in the twilight of his career.

“I would have thought I’d be retired by now, but I just seem to feel better and better as I go,” he said. “It keeps me motivated, keeps me in the gym, and it’s just something that a lot of fighters understand that it’s hard to give up.

“The pressure is off. I’m just enjoying myself now. I’m not as focused on winning. I just want to go out there, have a good fight, entertain the crowd, and it seems to be working better that way.”

At 40 years old, Prangley knows the end is coming sooner than later, but until his longtime trainers and friends “Crazy” Bob Cook and Javier Mendez feel he can’t do it any more, he’ll keep fighting.

“I made a deal years ago telling them that when it’s time for me to quit and go, to let me know,” Prangley said.

“When my performances drop and start being an embarrassment to myself and wreck all the work I’ve put into my career, they’ll let me know. Until I get the word from them, I’ll keep going.”

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