LAS VEGAS – Russell Doane (13-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) realizes his position opening the UFC 175 pay-per-view main card against Marcus Brimage (6-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To make the most of that opportunity, Doane “changed everything up.”
“I changed everything up and got really in shape (for this fight),” Doane told MMAjunkie. “(Brimage) comes forward and is aggressive, so I have to have the cardio for that. I’m treating this fight very seriously.”
Typically one to train out of his home state of Hawaii, Doane was encouraged to seek out new training methods by his longtime coach at Hawaii Elite MMA.
Doane’s decision to expand his horizons by traveling to a variety of gyms was an easy one, especially since his head coach pushed him and there were no perceptions of him being disloyal to the camp that got him to the UFC.
“My head coach made me go to different schools and learn different arts,” Doane said. “Tighten up my wrestling, tighten up my jiu-jitsu, tighten up on everything. He wanted to make sure I was 100 percent, and he really cares about my career.”
After defeating Leandro Issa by submission in his UFC debut earlier this year, Doane is ready for his next challenge in the octagon. The position of opening a pay-per-view is a prestigious one, and he plans on making the most of it.
“I just want to hit my opponent when I get in there,” Doane said. “I’m an exciting fighter, and I’m trying to live up to the hype. I want to make my place, make my name known. So I’m going to go out there and get in his face and take it to him.”
Brimage will drop to the bantamweight division for the first time in his career to face Doane in the pay-per-view opener from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center. The event airs following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
“The Bama Beast” admitted in a pre-fight interview with MMAjunkie that he was affected by the hype surrounding his last opponent Connor McGregor. He fell flat on fight night and was stopped in less than one minute, which indicates the possibility Brimage can be broken, be it before or during a match.
While Brimage looked poor against McGregor, Doane says he can’t expect to face that same fighter on Saturday night. In fact, he prepared for the best version of Brimage possible.
“The way I look at every opponent is I’m going to fight them at their best,” Doane said. “Whether that was a weak point in his time or not, to me I think he’s going to want to come out and avenge that. He’s going to come hungry and get in my face, and I would much rather prepare for my best opponent than my weakest opponent.”
UFC 175 will provide Doane with the opportunity to build his popularity with the organization, and, more importantly, keep his perfect UFC record intact. He also has the chance to start making noise in the bantamweight division.
“This division, there’s so many different guys, and they keep getting better,” Doane said. “They come out and destroy everyone else, then someone new comes along. I just need to keep improving and keep getting better and I’ll get there. I’ve waited this long to get here; I might as well keep working hard.”
For more on UFC 175, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.