It’s been a very good year so far for Colorado prospect Jarred “Shutout” Mercado. He’s won both his fights and looked solid, especially having come off the only loss of his career to close out 2013.
Looking back on 2014 to this point, Mercado told MMAWeekly.com, “I was able to move down to 135 pounds and I’ve gotten the results I’ve wanted in my fights, but definitely I feel I can improve upon my performances, but it’s been a good year for getting better.”
Mercado feels he’s still yet to show what he’s truly capable of in his fights.
“I’ve won, which is important, and I’ll take a win any way I can get it, but I try to hold myself to a pretty high standard,” he said. “I train pretty hard and I think I have a diverse set of skills that I haven’t showcased yet, so I still have a pretty high standard that I haven’t reached yet.”
One of the ways Mercado hopes to use to capitalize on his abilities was moving down from featherweight to bantamweight this year.
“I’ve thought about it for a long time and something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” said Mercado. “I was working a full-time job and kind of wanted to wait until I could focus on fighting before I really could do the weight-cut the right way and make it a comfortable transition.
“I feel like I’m a stronger guy at the weight, so it will be a benefit when facing guys my own size with leverage and everything.”
Having picked up his first RFA win this past July, Mercado (12-1) will seek to secure his second on Friday in Broomfield, Colo., against fellow top prospect Luke Sanders (8-0) for the promotion’s 135-pound championship.
“Luke is also a wrestler and is a very athletic guy who is aggressive and very explosive,” said Mercado. “He kind of overwhelms guys with pressure.
“That’s where we’ll meet – head-to-head in the middle of the cage – and see who can push the other guy backwards and be more aggressive. I think my wrestling is a little better and I have better conditioning and won’t be overwhelmed like some of his opponents have been in the past.”
With a win over Sanders, not only would Mercado claim a major MMA championship, but he also feels he’ll put himself in line for a shot at the big stage of MMA.
“The RFA has positioned themselves as a great way to transition to the UFC and a lot of their champions have gone there right away,” said Mercado.
“A win gives me another mark in the win column against a fighter from a good gym and if the UFC decides they want me, hopefully that’ll happen. I’m looking forward to beating Luke and then going from there.”