For Pat Bennett, there is a silver lining in the cloud that eliminated his M-1 Global heavyweight championship shot at Guram Gugenishvili on the July 8 M-1 Challenge 26 show in Costa Mesa, Calif.
As he told MMAWeekly.com, “As much as I wanted to get a title fight, to avenge one of my losses is just as good. I’m definitely pumped about that.”
The loss Bennett is referring to came last September when he was shelled by Kenny Garner in at the M-1 Selection 2010 Americas Finals.
In preparation for the rematch, Bennett has worked on his striking, and when asked if the fight could become a slugfest, he replied, “It could. I’m not going to say it’s not. Any fight can turn into a slugfest. We’ll see what happens.”
Bennett says the big change between the rematch and the original will happen before the fight, not during it.
“Especially after last time, I have a better idea of what’s going on,” said Bennett. “I’m not a different fighter; I’ve just prepared myself better. My preparation was completely different to what it was. I think I was focusing on some of the wrong things in the past.”
Not only does Bennett feel he’s prepared for the fight, but he’s also ready to headline M-1 Global’s second Showtime live broadcast.
“It’s cool and all, but there’s no added pressure,” he said. “I’ve wrestled and fought on national television before.
“It seems like every fight I’ve had cameras in my face; whether it was on television or streaming live (on the Internet). I don’t really think about it at this point. It doesn’t really matter at all.”
A win over Garner would put Bennett back in the title mix. And if Gugenishvili isn’t ready to fight, Bennett is willing to do what it takes to stay active and ready for his shot.
“I don’t see why they’d want me to fight again before fighting for the title,” he said. “I’m willing to; I don’t really care because I like to keep active.
“This has been kind of a big layoff for me, and I’d not like to have this much of a layoff, but one more fight before the title just makes me that much more prepared. I’m open to whatever they want me to do.”
With any disappointment he may have felt when he initially was not going to be fighting for a title on July 8 quickly washed away by news he’d get a chance at revenge, Bennett is primed and set for a big night of action at M-1 Challenge 26.
“I definitely want to thank my family, my girlfriend, and my hometown of Marcellus, N.Y., for supporting me,” he concluded. “Come check out the show on July 8. I’ll be the main event with Kenny Garner and it should be a great fight.”