Sterling FordSince turning pro in 2008, former Strikeforce lightweight Sterling Ford hadn’t fought less than four times in a year until 2012.

When asked why he hadn’t fought yet this year, Ford replied, “I was signed with Strikeforce and when they renegotiated with Showtime they announced they were going to do a lot less shows, so I was going to be less active.

“They had a fight lined up for me in July, but back (when the negotiations happened) it would have been a seven-month wait, so my managers and I decided to ask for my release and try to get a couple wins in to try to get into the UFC. Things have been kind of slow, so I haven’t been as active, but I’m looking to change that.”

Ford told that he used his time off wisely and didn’t stray at all from the sport.

“I took time off for competing, but I was really in the gym the whole time,” he said. “My coach was off for a couple months, so I took over for him, so I’ve been really busy in the MMA scene.

“I’ve been working on changing my mindset a little bit and be more aggressive and focus on finishing fights.”

Ford’s first opportunity to test out his new assertiveness comes on Saturday night in CageSport XX at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash., where he headlines the event against longtime Northwest staple James Marohl.

“A lot of places are making (Marohl) out to be a new guy, but he was just in the amateurs for a long, long time,” said Ford. “I’ve heard he’s a really tough guy; that he’s always down (for a fight) and never gives up.

“I hear he’s more a submission guy – and I’m not scared to go to the ground with him – but just in every fight I like to start standing up and see what I’m working with and go from there. I have pretty good stand-up. I’m awkward, so I kind of like to see where we are at standing up and make adjustments from there.”

According to Ford, a win over Marohl will put him right back in bigger show picture.

“I was on good terms with (matchmaker) Sean Shelby, and (told) that doing that (short notice) fight with Milton Viera was a huge favor to them, so when I asked for my release (I was told) if I get two wins outside of Strikeforce he would talk to them about bringing me back,” said Ford.

“I’m looking forward to (returning) by the end of the year, if not sooner, but I’m always cautious to what might not happen. If after this fight I have to take a couple other fights, I will and just keep winning. If I go out there and get four (wins), it’s going to look all that much the better, so I’m not worried about it.”

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