Sometimes early success can be a bad thing and lead to failure, and for bantamweight Native American prospect Carl “Anishinaabe” Deaton III, he credits his only pro loss to the mental state his early success gave him.
Compared to the fighter he was prior to loss to Mike Hernandez in August of 2013, Deaton is a much more mature and well-prepared fighter due to his change in mindset.
“Honestly, I’m more mentally there,” said Deaton. “When I first loss, I believed my own hype and just got caught, so ever since then I’ve really buckled down and trained. I never overlook an opponent. I’m doing well inside the practice room and outside the practice room and everything is mentally there.
“I’m mentally ready to be on a bigger show and fight ranked people in the world. I knew I could compete with the guys, but now I know that I have all the tools and that I’ve done all the work and I know I can win.”
Another reason Deaton is feeling stronger is a recent move he’s made in camps, from The Academy in Minnesota to Alliance MMA in California.
“I wanted to be in a bigger show and be around guys who had the same goal as me: to be world champ,” Deaton told MMAWeekly.com. “If you show up (at Alliance) and bust ass, they’ll like you, and you come back every day, they accept you and help you out and so it’s a good vibe out there.”
Deaton (8-1) will be set to take the next step in his career as he joins the RFA on Friday in Prior Lake, Minn., to face veteran Abel Cullum (19-6) in a 135-pound showdown.
“Abel’s a tough guy who comes to fight, is crafty on the ground, but I train with Wilson Reis who beat him a couple years ago, so the pointers and drilling I’ve done with Wilson has just been awesome,” said Deaton.
“I know Abel is going to come to put on a show, but I feel like I’m prepared to test myself against someone who was a champion in KOTC. I feel like I’m going to go out and impose my will – be stronger and faster – and I’m just ready for anything he throws at me.”
Deaton feels a win on Oct. 10 could very well be the foundation for the next stage in his career on a national stage.
“Hopefully (by defeating Cullum) a lot of opportunities open up with sponsors, TV portions of the RFA, and people want me back, or I move on to a bigger show,” said Deaton.
“Honestly, a win does great things, but I want to improve on the stuff I did well and stuff I didn’t and continue to have a good mindset moving forward.”