Upon suffering a physically devastating loss to Paul Daley in October of 2011, former UFC welterweight Luigi Fioravanti did something he hadn’t done in his career prior to then, he took extended time off.
As Fioravanti explains, his decision to step away for a year and a half before returning to action last year was two-fold.
“After the fight with Daley I was really beat up and injured, so I took time off to heal my injuries and stuff,” he said. “Then it was hard to get a fight for a little bit. Things were falling through and it was hard getting a fight that was worth the money.
“I managed to get in a couple fights (last year) and I felt really good. I’ve been just training my butt off since.”
While the break was good for Fioravanti physically, emotionally it wasn’t the best of times.
“It can be good, but at the same time it can be depressing,” he said. “I was coming off a couple losses, so that sucks, but it is what it is. But to not be able to get a fight or train – this being my livelihood – it was kind of rough for a little bit.
“Now that I’ve started training again because I let my body heal up, I feel good.”
After picking up back-to-back wins in 2013, Fioravanti will see his first action of this year when he participates in Battlegrounds MMA’s single-night eight-man welterweight tournament on Friday night in Tulsa, Okla.
“I’ve been training a lot harder, sparring more rounds, doing more strength and conditioning,” said Fioravanti of his tournament preparation.
“I’m a big fan of tournaments, so this is a good opportunity to do something like that, but yeah, you have to train a lot harder to be in shape to fight in something like this rather than a three-round fight.”
Looking at a field that includes fellow former UFC fighters like Roan Carneiro, Brock Larson, and Coy McKenzie, Fioravanti told MMAWeekly.com that his total game has to be on point if he hopes to win the tournament.
“Nowadays everybody is good at everything,” he said. “Everyone can throw hands, kickbox, wrestle or do jiu-jitsu. There’s going to be some guys in the tournament who is better at one thing or the other.
“There are a lot of tough, good guys in the tournament; a lot of guys with experience. It’s one of those things where anything can happen and anyone can win.”
Back on a winning track, Fioravanti is looking to keep his winning ways going at Battlegrounds MMA, where a tournament win could be a victory on two fronts for him.
“It’d be really huge,” he said. “Some guys can still compete at a fairly decent level of MMA and hopefully it will open doors to a big organization afterwards. Plus I get 50 grand if I win the tournament and that’s always a plus.”