Following his first pro loss in June of 2013, welterweight up-and-comer Benjamin Smith has reeled off four straight victories.
Looking back on his winning streak, Smith credits balancing his newer skills with his core abilities and knowing when to fall back on his strengths in order to get a win.
“The last loss I had was in the RFA to Mike Rhodes, and I tried to work my stand-up a little with him, and he’s a great striker – I found that out the hard way,” said Smith. “I’m still trying to develop myself on the feet and am trying to push the pace there, but if I need to push for the win, I can revert back to my takedowns and natural style as a ground-n-pounder.
“In every fight, I want to try to open up and expand myself as a fighter, and I certainly have ability when it comes to the stand-up game, but when it comes to experience, my whole life it has been in my ground game.”
Most recently Smith went to a five-round decision for the first time in a win over Nathan Howe in April.
“It was a pretty epic battle and was a really great fight in a lot of ways,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “(Howe) is now actually a teammate of mine who started training with us after the fight.
“I put a pretty good beating on him and he never quit, so it was a nice showing for him and a nice test of endurance for me to keep going. Having that experience certainly helps me understand the pace of any fight.”
Smith (10-1) once again returns to the RFA in search of his fifth win in a row on Friday in Broomfield, Colo., to take on Josh Cavan (9-4) in a welterweight feature showdown.
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“Like any fight, I think I just have to fight really, really hard,” said Smith. “From what I’ve seen, (Cavan is) a really good fighter who is really well-rounded. I think that we match up well. I think we have similar styles.
“It’s going to be a real battle of will and attrition and see who can push the pace and break the other guy.”
Smith hopes this RFA bout ends differently than his last one and helps provide the steppingstone he needs to take his career to the next level.
“I want to fight in the UFC, and the RFA is a great organization for propelling me to that goal,” he said. “I think it’s a realistic goal. Hopefully a win takes me there or at least one step closer.
“I just want to keep moving forward towards my goal, and once I get there, I’ll set new goals.”