Even though Lumumba Sayers has only been fighting MMA since 2009, his road to Strikeforce has been anything but quick and easy.
“I’ve been fighting for 15 years, so it’s been a long haul,” said Sayers “I had a long amateur career before turning pro, and I’ve never had an easy fight my whole career. Everyone I fought was top of the line; they were one of the best at that weight class.”
Sayers managed to take a big step forward last year with a 28-second knockout victory over Antwain Britt in November. The win helped salvage his year after a loss Derek Brunson in July.
“I felt like the last (fight against Britt) was a great performance,” said Sayers. “The one before that, I think it was okay, but I just didn’t have enough time to get in shape for that fight. I think I would have had more of a gas tank, I think I would have won that fight against Brunson.”
Sayers told MMAWeekly.com that heading into his fight with Britt, it was his doubters that gave him the most motivation to win like he did.
“I read that 96 percent of the voters said he would knock me out, and it kind of made me mad,” he said. “I’d never been knocked out in any of my fights. I was like, ‘Okay, if that’s what you think.’
“That played in my head over and over again that people thought he was going to whip me like nobody. So when I went out there I was just at peace because I knew what I was going to do, so I wasn’t surprised when I knocked him out.”
Sayers will have an opportunity to prove he belongs on Strikeforce’s biggest stage when he takes on Scott Smith in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday night as part of the Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey main card on Showtime.
“I don’t think it will be a slugfest, but if it is, I’m ready for it,” said Sayers. “Boxing is my background, but I’ve got a pretty good ground game. So if it goes to the ground, I’m not worried about it. If it stays standing, I’m not worried about it. Wherever this fight goes, I’m comfortable with it, and he’s going to have his hands full.
“I have all these different skills, but at the end of the day, I’m a fighter and I’ve got to fight. No matter how much jiu-jitsu I know, how much boxing I know, when you come in the cage against me, you’ll know I’m a fighter.”
Sayers intends to make the most of his opportunity against Smith, because as he points out, you’re never guaranteed anything more than what is in front of you.
“I live life day-by-day,” he said. “I’ve never looked ahead of my target. I prepare for the future, but I’m more of a short-term goal guy. I worry about today, because today has its own worries, while tomorrow will have its own worries too. You could be worried about tomorrow and not even make it through today.
“So it’s going to be explosive. I’m going to go out there and put on a show. Win or lose; I’m going to give it 100-percent.”