Bantamweight fighter Walel Watson went through that following his third loss in a row in the UFC, and now finds himself with the job of working his way back.
It’s a road a lot of fighters attempt to travel, but only a handful are successful at actually making it back, but Watson plans on being the exception to the rule and not just another ex-UFC fighter who could never return to the big show.
“I came up maybe a little bit early and if anything it just made me twice as hungry. I was hungrier than ever to get to the UFC, now that I got a little taste of it, I want more,” Watson told MMAWeekly.com.
One common theme that does tend to happen to a lot of ex-UFC fighters is kind of a hangover effect where once they are no longer under the bright lights in the Octagon, they have a hard time adjusting back to the regional circuit of MMA shows. Some fighters struggle to stay relevant and never make it back to the UFC.
Watson has no plans of suffering that kind of fate.
“Some guys get drunk on that UFC vibe and they can’t adjust and go back to the regional level and fight. Then there are guys like me, whose goals never change, and my goal is to be No. 1. Whether I’m fighting in the UFC or I’m fighting in a regional show, I have to display my skills and I have to show that I’m No. 1 no matter who’s watching or what the situation could be,” Watson stated.
Since leaving the UFC, Watson has already picked up one victory, and looks to make it two in a row with his bout Friday night in California.
He knows it’s going to take more than a couple of wins to get back on the radar of UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, but through sheer hard work and determination he’s going to get there one way or another.
“My goal’s never changed to be No. 1 in the world,” said Watson. “So whether the world believes in me or not, I’m going to continue to move forward.”