There can be a subtle beauty in someone who just doesn’t care. And Jason High? Well, he just doesn’t care.
Sort of. Of course he cares – saying he doesn’t might imply High (16-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) doesn’t want to win when he meets Erick Silva (14-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) on Saturday at UFC on FUEL TV 10. And that, obviously, would be patently false.
But when it comes to what the oddsmakers who have made Silva a 4-to-1 favorite, when it comes to what his record is, when it comes to talking about his opponent, when it comes to fighting Silva in Brazil on hostile turf? All that stuff, High doesn’t much care about. And he has pretty much the textbook just-don’t-care way to phrase it, too.
“I’m going to put the pressure on him and make him uncomfortable,” High told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “He’s fighting in front of his home (crowd) – and I don’t really care about all that s–t. There’s going to be pressure, it’s going to be ugly, and I don’t really give a s–t. It’s still a fight.”
There it is, in a nutshell, for High: “I don’t really give a s–t.”
UFC on FUEL TV 10 takes place at Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil. The main card, including High vs. Silva, airs on FUEL TV following prelims on Facebook.
High comes into the fight riding a seven-fight win streak, including three straight under the Strikeforce banner. He’s been to the UFC dance before, and dropped a unanimous decision to Charlie Brenneman in March 2010. Now, more than three years later, he’s been invited back and believes he’s a significantly different fighter.
His wins since his loss to Brenneman, which followed a knockout loss to Marius Zaromskis at DREAM.10, include Jordan Mein, Hayato Sakurai, Quinn Mulhern and Nate Moore, the latter two in Strikeforce.
“I’m light years better,” said High, who in the middle of his seven-fight streak started training at American Top Team for the bulk of his camps. “I’ve improved everywhere. My standup’s definitely improved, and my grappling’s improved leaps and bounds. I don’t want to be the same fighter I was three years ago.”
That’s what he’ll be attempting to show Silva – and the oddsmakers – on Saturday. That the numbers are skewed so heavily in his favor might be perplexing to High – if he cared. He takes that with a grain of salt, too.
“I don’t pay attention to it, man,” High said. “I’ve been an underdog a lot, so it really doesn’t matter to me. It’s a bunch of fat guys smoking cigarettes handicapping fights. What the f— do I care what they think? I’m going to beat his ass. I don’t really pay much attention to how many fights I’ve won. The only time I pay attention to that is doing interviews like this.”
If High’s comments come off as slightly annoyed, it’s because he is, and he knows it. Chalk it up to the weight cut, chalk it up to being out of his element in Brazil, chalk it up to being travel-weary.
But he’s attempting to turn that aggravation into a positive when Saturday rolls around.
“The game face has been on all week,” High said. “I’m getting irritable. I’ve got to see him around the f—ing hotel, I’ve got to answer questions about him. Whatever. I’ll see him at weigh-ins. But cutting weight, everything is a little more annoying at this point.”
Being annoyed leading up to the fight would likely be water under the bridge if High can pull off the upset, and he’s seen a bit of a blueprint for beating Silva by watching Jon Fitch outwrestle the Brazilian this past October, Silva’s most recent fight.
So if Silva believes the oddsmakers and sees High as a walk-through on the way back to the win column, High thinks he has another thing coming.
“Fitch kind of exposed him a little bit, I feel like,” he said. “So I’ll be looking to go there and wear him out, I think. He likes to finish early and he’s done that a lot. I want to take him deep and put pressure on him.
“He knows what I’m trying to do to him and he’s afraid of having it done to him. After that first round, maybe his eyes are going to be opened up a bit when things aren’t going his way and he’s getting beat up in front of his home (crowd).”
And if that’s the case, Silva certainly won’t be happy. And High? It’s likely he just won’t give a s–t.
For the latest on UFC on FUEL TV 10, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.