by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It would be understandable if a fighter had lost three high-profile fights in a row and called it quits, fighters after all are only human and they can become just as dejected as the rest of us.
So if heavyweight veteran Justin Eilers decided to call it a day after his KO loss to Brandon Vera at UFC 57 no one would blame him, but he’s not that type of individual. Instead Justin has stepped up his game and won three in a row with an eye on a fourth Saturday in Denver, Colorado.
“Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good right now and my training is going good and I’m a 100% healthy,” said Eilers to MMAWeekly just before heading to Denver. My confidence is back up; I’ve got three wins in a row and am feeling pretty good. I’m just looking to keep that streak going.”
Justin’s recent success has landed him the main event slot at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Nationals MMA event taking place at the National Western Complex Stadium Arena in what was supposed to be a battle of UFC veterans.
“I was planning on fighting Pat Smith but supposedly he got knocked out [in a boxing match], so he’s going to be on suspension or something,” said a somewhat dejected Eilers. “So I’m fighting a replacement [Wade Hamilton]. I don’t know much about him but I am in pretty good shape and feel ready to go, so I feel pretty confident.”
Justin continued, “I was looking forward to fighting Pat Smith. He’s got a name and anyone who’s got a name – I want to fight them. It’s part of the game though, I’ve faced it before, you always have these late replacements so you have to deal with it. It’s going to be another win for me, that’s the way I’m looking at it…whoever it is I’m going to beat them.”
Should Eilers prove successful this weekend against Hamilton, Justin feels it will continue to rebuild his standing in the eyes of MMA fans who may have doubted him after his difficulties in the UFC.
“I want people to understand that I am a good fighter,” exclaimed Eilers. “I had a bad three [fights] in the UFC right at the end. I took that fight against Vera only seven months after surgeries, so I took that on kind of short notice and wasn’t at 100%. People need to understand that I am a good fighter and I’m going to be right back in that hunt, I guarantee it.”
“I’m feeling pretty good right now and my training is going good and I’m a 100% healthy. My confidence is back up; I’ve got three wins in a row and am feeling pretty good. I’m just looking to keep that streak going,” added Justin.
After the RMN-MMA event Eilers has little time to rest as he’ll continue to stay busy throughout the remainder of 2006.
“I’m just trying to fight every month,” commented Justin. “I’m trying to fight as often as possible. After this fight I’m fighting October 12 [in the WEC] and then again in early November. I’m just trying to get as many fights in as I can so I can stay constantly at a ready level.”
Eilers knows that it takes more than his own determination to continue down the comeback trail, it takes the support of people working with him in his career.
“I’d definitely like to send a shout-out to Ed at Sinister Clothing,” said Justin. “He’s stuck behind me. A lot of sponsors are only there for the big fights and then they go away, especially if you lose, but Ed and Sinister has always been there for me. I really appreciate that.”
As for the fans, Eilers also knows their support is imperative as well and promises to put on a show for them every time out.
“For the fans I just want everybody to know that I’m still in the hunt,” concluded Justin. “I’m coming back and I’m coming back strong, I’m going for that title. They’re going to see me at the top of my game, so they can expect an exciting fight.”