MENU
#Conor McGregor #UFC 216 #Tony Ferguson #GSP #Nate Diaz #Kevin Lee #Nick Diaz #Michael Bisping #Holly Holm #Demetrious Johnson #Anderson Silva #Fight Night Rotterdam #Dominick Cruz



There was only one fighter Jamie Varner didn’t want to meet in his UFC return.

Naturally, that’s whom he found himself in the Octagon with at UFC 146.

“I knew I was going to get back to the UFC,” Varner told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “That was my goal. I was going to work hard no matter what, but my biggest thing was -- I told myself and I even told people around me -- the one guy I don’t want to fight when I come back, my first fight back, I just don’t want it to be Edson Barboza. I said him specifically. I mean, they could have me fight Frankie Edgar my first fight back, but the one guy I didn’t want to fight was Edson Barboza.”

Varner had decided Barboza would be a tough matchup months before he was asked to fight him. The undefeated Brazilian was supposed to take on Evan Dunham at the May 26 card, but when Dunham dropped out, Varner got a call. It was his manager, asking if he wanted to fight in the UFC.

“Shoot yeah,” Varner replied. “That sounds great. Who’s the opponent?”

“Edson Barboza.”

“Oh,” said Varner. “Oh. Oh man. God dang, that’s a tough one.”

Varner not only took the fight he didn’t want, he won it. He rocked the highly touted Barboza on the feet and finished him with strikes on the ground, pulling off the stunner 3:23 into the first round.

“I knew no matter what, I was at least going to put up a good fight with Edson,” Varner said. “I know how fast and tough and dynamic that he is. I’m like, ‘I’m going to keep my hands up, and if I have to, I’ll at least take a beating for 15 minutes and hopefully try to give one back.’”

The way Varner saw it, he had nothing to lose and a UFC contract to gain. He signed a four-fight deal with the promotion, which comes less than a year after he considered retiring from MMA following a loss to Dakota Cochrane. As of September 2011, the former WEC lightweight champion had won just one of his last six bouts.

“In my career, I started out at the bottom,” Varner said. “Just this young, punk kid that had a dream and I worked my way up to a world title, defended it, then in one year I lost everything. In one year I lost my title. I lost my job. I lost my love and respect for the sport. It was just tough, man. Rock bottom. It was just lonely and I was just miserable and angry. I didn’t want to fight. I didn’t want to do anything anymore.”

Now, though, Varner has rediscovered his love for the sport. For the first time in a long time, he genuinely wants to fight.

“The only thing that really held me back in my career, especially in the past, was my mental game,” Varner said. “That is one thing I’ve been really focusing on in the past few months. I think training over there at The Lab with Ben Henderson and all those guys and coach John Crouch and plus my trainer Trevor Lally over at Arizona Combat Sports -- we’ve really been focusing on my mental preparation.”

Certainly it seems to have helped him conquer any fear he had of Barboza. Whether Varner will build on the victory remains to be seen, but with the highs and lows he’s already had in MMA, it’s easy to forget he’s only 27. A mature, focused Varner could be a big factor in the UFC’s lightweight division.

“I’ve got anywhere from three to eight years left,” he said. “I just want to make the most of it and I want to be able to go out on my own terms and hopefully work my way up to a world title.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 47:10).

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Comments

Show Comments

Related News

Get To Know TUF Cast: Lauren Murphy

  • 29 days ago
  • 6 views

Lauren Murphy, a former Invicta FC bantamweight champion with four UFC fights to her name, didn’t feel like an MMA veteran earlier this year. Then she joined the cast of The Ultimate Fighter and ever read news >>

UFC Fight Night 117 medical suspensions: No tapping gets Yushin Okami 45 days

  • 22 days ago
  • 93 views

UFC veteran Yushin Okami didn’t appear to have much choice in the matter, but his lack of tap against Ovince Saint Preux brings a 45-day suspension.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Ray Borg coach credits John Dodson as key player in prep for UFC champ Demetrious Johnson

  • 12 days ago
  • 9 views

Ray Borg didn’t have to look far for advice on what it’s like to face UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

No rush for UFC 216's Mara Romero Borella as she savors stunning short-notice debut

  • 7 days ago
  • 25 views

For Mara Romero Borella, a more than 2-1 underdog coming into her last-minute UFC debut, the first-round submission over Kalindra Faria was a dream come true. But give her a minute before she figures read news >>

Khabib Nurmagomedov to new interim UFC champ Tony Ferguson: 'You deserve this belt'

  • 10 days ago
  • 15 views

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s history with Tony Ferguson didn’t stop him from congratulating the new UFC interim lightweight champ.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Demetrious Johnson Reacts to Not Being UFC 216 Main Event (Video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 13 days ago
  • 11 views

Demetrious Johnson speaks about his mental approach to fighting and what his reaction was when he learned he would not be the UFC 216 headliner. read news >>

Derrick Lewis' plan vs. Fabricio Werdum? 'Swing until hopefully I hit something'

  • 13 days ago
  • 10 views

UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis’ back isn’t 100 percent, but he’s still confident he’ll beat ex-champ Fabricio Werdum at UFC 216 with his trademark aggression.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Condit returns at UFC 219 to face Magny

  • 14 days ago
  • 2 views

T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be the site of the long-awaited comeback of former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, as "The Natural Born Killer" returns to face Neil Magny in a UFC 219 b read news >>

Fabricio Werdum: 'I'm Not Homophobic' (Video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 13 days ago
  • 29 views

At the UFC 216 Ultimate Media Day, Fabricio Werdum discussed his altercation with Tony Ferguson, including why people shouldn't label him as homophobic. read news >>

'UFC 216 Embedded,' No. 2: 'The celebration of our hard work and determination'

  • 13 days ago
  • 20 views

Go behind the scenes as fighters go through their final preparations for UFC 216.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>