After a stint on The Ultimate Fighter 12, Lentz has been sidelined for one reason or another and has fought just once in the last three years.
As Lentz explained to MMAWeekly.com, opportunities and issues with those involved in his career were the main factors in his absence.
“I haven’t fought in two years,” said Lentz. “I had a couple cancelled fight and then I had a contract issue. I was suspended for a year and then I was supposed to fight this past October, but my opponent didn’t make weight, he was like eight and a half pounds over (so we didn’t fight) and here we are.”
Even though he’s gone through all that, Lentz refuses to look at it in a totally negative light.
“In my eyes, everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Instead of sitting around in my time off, I’ve been in the gym, the same as if I were fighting, (training) five or six times a week just getting better.
“I’m a completely different person now. My game has gotten better all the way around in every aspect. I focus a lot more on my wrestling and my judo, and I’m a completely new fighter.”
Lentz (9-2-1) will finally return to the cage on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., when he takes on former Bellator featherweight Scott Heckman (16-4) in the main event of CFFC 31.
“He’s a very tough opponent,” said Lentz of Heckman. “He’s a good wrestler who uses a lot of pressure and is explosive and powerful, but I’m going to grind him out. I know my cardio is better than his, I know my will is stronger than his, and I’m more experienced in the well-rounded sport of MMA.
“I’m going to go in there, have some fun and pick him apart.”
Even though he’s been out of the fight game the majority of the last couple years, Lentz feels a win over Heckman could put him right back in contention for a bigger show. If not, he’s more than ready to put in the work to keep his spot atop the CFFC 145-pound weight class.
“A good, solid win would do the trick, but whatever it takes to get to the next level,” said Lentz. “If I have to sit around and defend my title again, I’m not worried.
“I know the featherweight division in Cage Fury is stacked, but I’m not worried about any of my opponents in the division. I feel I’m a more complete fighter than any of the other guys in the division.”