After a couple of years trying to make a step up to the next level, 2013 was finally the year that featherweight Lee “American Bulldog” Morrison made that transition.
While he only fought twice, last year was about quality over quantity for Morrison.
“It went really well with two wins over two great opponents,” said Morrison. “One was Julian Erosa in CageSport and the other was Mikail Malyutin over in M-1 Global for my debut. Both are big wins and I’m glad to have them behind me and my confidence high for the next one.”
While Morrison had a strong performance over Erosa, his fight with Malyutin was anything but easy.
“I knew (Malyutin) was going to be a tough fight, but I thought I would at least get the unanimous decision,” said Morrison. “I thought that I would perform a little better too.
“I’ve had some stuff fine-tuned and I shouldn’t have any issues like I did going into this last one. I’m excited to see how I perform after I’ve made these changes in my next fight with M-1.”
Morrison’s (13-3) next bout in M-1 will be his most important to date, as he takes on undefeated Marat Gafurov (8-0) for the promotion’s 145-pound title on April 4 in Orenburg, Russia.
“He’s a little bigger, little stronger of an individual, but I don’t see him being as quick as me as far as transitions and being crisp,” said Morrison of Gafurov. “As long as I’m on point, I should be able to get my hand raised.
“For the most part I know I’ve got to be quick on my feet and get through the transitions and not get caught on bottom with this guy. I know he’s strong and likes to do ground and pound from the top. As long as I keep moving, I should be pretty dominant in all positions as long as I show up ready to go.”
After years trying step up to the next level, Morrison got his chance last year. And now on the verge of his biggest fight to date, he’s focused and ready to make 2014 an even better year.
“This is huge for me,” Morrison told MMAWeekly.com. “This will definitely back what I’ve tried to do in this sport.
“Bringing the belt back home would definitely be a confidence booster. I’m looking to win this one and a couple of more throughout the summer and defend this belt, I’ll be happy.”