To say that World Series of Fighting middleweight David Branch had a tumultuous 2012 is not an understatement. Difficulties in his career mirrored difficulties in his private life.
“I had some passport issues, wasn’t able to make it to Poland (for a bout), had a couple of fights I had to pull out of due to injurym and when I fought Anthony Johnson (in May) there was a lot of controversy with weight,” said Branch.
“I’m not one of those fighters who doesn’t have to worry about bills and everyday things. I have to put food on the table and I have two children, so sometimes the stress gets to you and you lose focus on what you’ve got to do in a fight. All my losses were because I wasn’t mentally prepared; I was physically prepared, but mentally not there.”
Thankfully coming into 2013, Branch was able to get things sorted out.
“Now I’m in a place mentally and people around me that are driving me and have re-sparked what first inspired me to fight,” he said. “I’m in a really good place right now and am staying away from negativity and am just being positive.”
Branch told MMAWeekly.com that he’s looking to build off lessons learned in his last win against Dustin Jacoby at WSOF 1 in November to make for a more consistent year.
“The fight with Dustin I was still recovering from some injuries, so I couldn’t do what I really wanted to do and what I’m capable of doing in the fight, but it was good because that was the first time I stood up against a stand-up guy and showed a different element of my game,” said Branch.
“I out-struck a striker who had won most of his fights by knockout, and me being a grappler doing that against a striker made me feel good. It was like the first time I had a striker try to take me down, so I knew I was doing something right.”
A more fully developed game could help Branch gain the advantage on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., when he takes on Paulo Filho in a feature bout at WSOF 2 to be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
“I would like to show a full range of MMA against Paulo and my future opponents,” said Branch. “I’d like to make it exciting, but also fight a smart fight and fight to win.
“I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for a long time, working with some of the best in the world with the Gracie family my whole career, so I’m not going to be surprised by anything he’s going to do on the ground. I respect his ground game, but I’m not worried about it.”
After not receiving much of a push in his time with Bellator and the UFC, Branch feels now with the WSOF, he can take his career to heights he’s wanted to achieve for a long time.
“I think this is the perfect opportunity and perfect promotion for me to be at this time in my career and where I’m at,” he said. “I’m actually coming into my own. I’ve been fighting for about five years now and I definitely feel like this is going to open really big doors for me.”