To be an elite mixed martial artist, one must be truly committed to
the sport. Sometimes that means giving up most of what you own in
order to further your career.
UFC veteran and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2 alum Josh
Burkman made just such a commitment, but he is now on the
sidelines healing an injured knee.
“I’ve realized that [younger MMA fighters] now put everything they
have into fighting,” the 31-year-old Burkman told Sherdog.com. “You
have to keep yourself in shape between fights. I looked back at my
career and realized that I trained for each fight. I didn’t train
to be the best. That’s why I got rid of my house, sold a lot of my
stuff and put everything aside and focused on training to be the
best. I wanted to see how good I can be.”
Burkman (Pictured, File Photo) was training for a fight at Amazon
Forest Combat 1 in Brazil in September when the injury
“I had a fight scheduled, and the camp really went well,” said
Burkman, who owns 13 finishes among his 21 professional wins. “It
was four days out. I was good weight-wise, and everything was right
where I needed it to be, but I got hurt and dislocated my kneecap.
I’d finally put it all together and this happened.”
Burkman said he did not immediately realize how badly he was hurt
and instead tried to finish the practice session.
“I was doing some kickboxing, then switched to wrestling and
ground-and-pound drills,” said Burkman. “During the
ground-and-pound, my knee started hurting worse than usual. I got
it drained, pushed myself hard at practice the next day and it kept
swelling, so I had to pull out of the fight.”
Burkman had torn his patellar tendon and medial retinaculum, in
addition to popping a bursa sac in his knee and straining his
quadriceps muscle. Burkman’s orthopedic surgeon hoped to avoid
surgery and instead placed the fighter on a physical therapy
regimen. However, Burkman pushed his rehab too hard and his knee
started to swell, drawing his doctor’s ire along with an
“After I had to go see the surgeon again, he gave me one more
chance to keep from having surgery,” said Burkman, who holds wins
Neer, Drew Fickett
Reiner. “That was about three weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been
resting it and icing my knee. I went and saw the doctor again, and
he was impressed with the progress I’d made. He said surgery wasn’t
necessary for now, but if it starts swelling again, I’ll need
Instead of viewing his injury as coming at the worst possible time,
Burkman has instead chosen to look on the bright side when it comes
to his forced time off.
“This injury has really mellowed me and helped me see where my
career needs to go,” said Burkman. “It’s helped me see how good I
might be if I’m really dedicated to the sport. [The injury] has
held me back, but everything happens for a reason, and I still
think I’m going to get a second chance at the UFC.”
For now, Burkman must play the waiting game. It is one he is
willing to play to get another chance at fighting in the Octagon.
He last fought in the UFC in October 2008, when he dropped a
unanimous decision to Pete Sell.
“It’s a slow process, but I’m getting better every day,” said
Burkman. “It’ll be another four to six weeks before I can do much
of anything. I’ve talked to some of the people at the UFC, and they
would like me to get one more win before I can come back. I want to
win another fight, get a UFC contract and show people that I
haven’t just been sitting around.
“When fighters get hurt, they talk about coming back better than
ever, but I’m hoping to really show that,” he concluded. “But until
I can get back in the gym, I’m just going to keep my knee elevated
and iced and watch some football.”