By his own admission, 2011 wasn’t the best of years for welterweight Ryan McGillivray. A disappointing stint on The Ultimate Fighter 13 and a loss on the show’s finale were compounded by a gruesome broken nose that required surgery, shelving him for six months.
Still, McGillivray persevered and managed to come back with a solid win earlier this year over Diego Bautista at MFC 32, which has his spirits up.
“I only had one real fight last year and I had some injuries, so it wasn’t exactly the year I wanted. So it was a big relief to come out with a win and it was just fantastic to be back in there,” said McGillivray. “We as fighters do this for a reason, and it was it was really nice to have that feeling again.”
McGillivray told MMAWeekly.com that just getting back to fighting after missing half of last year was a welcome prospect.
“It’s really nice knowing that fights are coming up,” he said. “Really, honestly, with my injuries over the summer and everything I never really took any time off. I was always in the routine of training, which was nice, but at the same time it’s different when you have that mindset of having a fight around the corner. It’s nice to have that added motivation for sure.”
The win over Bautista set up McGillivray’s biggest fight to date, as he takes on Nathan Coy for the vacant MFC welterweight title at MFC 33 on May 4 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
“In this fight it’s no secret that he’s got a great wrestling pedigree and he’s very good at taking guys down and handling them,” said McGillivray of Coy. “I see this fight playing out similar to that: Me working off my back for submissions as best I can, as well as making him pay for it on the way in on his takedowns and make him work for them.
“I think it will be a big battle of strategy and who has the better game plan that night.”
Being a title fight, this will be McGillivray’s first opportunity to possibly go five rounds. It’s a prospect he feels he can deal with if need be.
“It’s made for a harder camp, but I feel I’m ready to do it,” he said. “Just like my first fight that went three rounds, you never really know until you’re in there how you’re going to feel, but ’m doing everything in my power to be able to go five rounds as hard as I can. I’ll be as prepared as I possibly can be in case that does happen.”
Taking a title in the MFC could go a long way in establishing McGillivray as someone to watch at 170 pounds again, and so he’s not looking beyond what’s in front of him.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the next fight; whether you’ll win or lose, or injuries. There’s so many variables that can change,” he said. “Earlier this year I was just trying to get past Diego, and now my whole focus and goal is winning this fight on May 4, and we’ll determine the future after that.
“I guarantee I won’t be giving up in this fight. If he’s going to be able to beat me, he’s going to have to work for it. It’s going to be a great fight one way or another. We’re both workhorses, so it should be a very challenging back-and-forth fight for the both of us.”