After nearly two years away from MMA, heavyweight prospect Demoreo Dennis made his return to the sport with a TKO of Gary Frazier to win a FCF championship last June.
While he was able to claim a heavyweight title with the win over Frazier, the fight didn’t quite play out as Dennis would have liked.
“By the third round he had no more gas tank, and I was really excited to put my striking on display, but he didn’t want to answer the bell,” Dennis told MMAWeekly.com. “I didn’t know what really happened. I’m glad I got the belt and everything, but I didn’t win it the way I wanted it to.”
Though he hadn’t fought MMA for a while, Dennis kept himself with other combat sports during his layoff.
“I was off doing kickboxing for the last couple years,” said Dennis. “I really wanted to get my striking better for MMA, but in the process I fell in love with kickboxing.
“I would love to do kickboxing a little more, but the money is not there in kickboxing right now, so I’m focused on MMA.”
Dennis (6-3) will look to start off his 2017 in the way he finished last year when he takes on Dontale Mayes (2-1) in a heavyweight co-main event at Legacy Fighting Alliance 9 this Friday in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
“I know he’s hungry, but he hasn’t fought anybody the caliber of me,” said Dennis of facing Mayes. “I’m going to go out there and put my offense on him. If he wants to do anything, I’ve got the defense for that as well.
“He’s a big guy, a brawler, but I don’t think he’s been tested yet. I feel he’ll be tested Friday night. I really see me winning this fight. I’ve put way too much time into this, and I don’t see me losing this at all.”
Along with his motivation to keep his winning ways going, Dennis is excited to get the opportunity to fight on the same card as his younger brother Myron for the first time in MMA.
“He’s been in camp with me for really tough fights, and I’ve been in camps with him for really tough fights,” said Dennis. “It’s nice that we’re working together to sharpen our skills.
“To be on the same card is a great thing. We want to make a big name for Oklahoma in this Legacy show. It’s nothing but motivation for us to great this Friday.”
Dennis hopes his time with the LFA can help lead him to his overall goal: getting to the top of the heavyweight division in 2017.
“My goal is to keep climbing the heavyweight ranks and make it to the UFC,” Dennis said. “Our careers have been a lot of trial and error, but at this stage in our careers, we’ve ironed out a lot of mistakes; my brother and I are ready for big things.”