Heading into Friday’s RFA 8 show at 9-1, featherweight Jared “Demon Eyes” Downing looks to be one of several prospects on the card that could possibly take a step to the next level with a solid performance on the show.
Even though he’s highly regarded, Downing continues to fight like he has something to prove, even if it means facing larger opposition like he’s done recently.
“I feel happy with my performances (in 2012),” said Downing.” I got to go with a lot of heavier guys and I feel that even at the heavier weight, I felt explosive and had strength like I had at 145 pounds.
“The bigger guys kind of got to me a little more than I had hoped for, but I definitely felt comfortable in those fights and doing what I wanted at that moment.”
In his more natural division at featherweight, Downing told MMAWeekly.com that he is more dangerous.
“I feel good at 145 and I have a speed advantage and a way bigger advantage in my strength and explosiveness,” he said.
Already a solid ground fighter, Downing’s most recent work has been on sharpening his striking.
“I’ve been working on my stand-up game to make it more vicious,” he said. “It’s something that I wanted to get more comfortable at.
“I thought it would be something that with my takedown defense it was something I should work on a lot more because I’m comfortable with my takedowns and ground game already.”
Downing’s developing skills will need to be at their peak Friday night at RFA 8 on AXS TV, when he takes on fellow top prospect Lance “The Party” Palmer.
“I think I am a bad match-up for him, so just applying my game and I will do just fine,” said Downing. “I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always done.
“I won’t fight his game. I will apply pressure and fight my fight.”
In a bout that could very well turn out to be a candidate for Fight of the Year, a win or at least a solid performance could take Downing to the next level.
“I’m not sure why it’s Palmer who is going to make this next transition for me,” said Downing. “But I feel with my record after beating him will definitely help.”