by Brian Lopez-Benchimol – MMAWeekly.com
Mac Danzig, winner of season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” had everything going for him. Following a memorable stint on the reality show, where he was dubbed as the favorite early on and the unofficial leader of Matt Hughes’ team, Danzig would eventually win his six-figure contract at the show’s culmination opposite teammate Tommy Speer in the welterweight division.
Since dropping back to his more natural weight class, the lightweight fighter has had a string of bad luck. Following up the win over Speer with a win over Canadian grappler Mark Bocek at 155 pounds, Danzig has since gone 0-3 against stiff competition in the form of veterans Clay Guida, Josh Neer, and Jim Miller.
Though the pressure to win always exists, the former King of the Cage lightweight champion is truly in need of a win to remain within the UFC, something that he’s heard time and time again.
“It’s the same story,” said Danzig while a guest on the MMAWeekly Radio show.
“That’s what happens whenever you have a loss, or a string of losses. A lot of guys, they feel that same pressure when they’re coming off of one loss, and I just happen to be in a weight class that is really, highly competitive,” he said.
“Its not easy to go in there and put together a lot of wins unless you are fighting turds, and there’s no turds in the UFC really. So it’s just one of those things where I think I felt all the pressure for the last three fights, especially the Guida and Neer fights, and I think I have a lot less pressure this time around, because I’ve hit rock bottom so to speak.”
Making his first start since the loss to contender Jim Miller this past July at UFC 100, Danzig will come back to his familiar stomping grounds of Spike TV when he faces Team Alpha Male product Justin Buchholz at UFC 109, as part of the televised portion of the undercard dubbed “UFC 109: The Prelims,” which will also feature another lightweight bout between Melvin Guillard and Ronnys Torres.
“When I found out (Spike TV decided they) were going to air it, I thought that was pretty cool,” said the 30-year-old.
“I think it should be a fun fight, an exciting fight for the fans. This guy, if nothing else, he’s exciting. He comes out there and gives it his all and everyone knows that I do too.
“I think it’s a good match-up, as far as exciting fights for the fans, and than on top of that it doesn’t hurt to be on Spike TV. It helps my sponsorship check, so I’m not complaining there.”
Following a move from Las Vegas to his current residence in Los Angeles, Danzig believes the change of scenery is exactly what he needed in order to refocus and reinvigorate his career. Long past him now are the days in Vegas where “there’s nothing really else to do unless you’re one of those crazy, party people that wants to have glow sticks behind their ears and jump around in a club on various drugs and alcohol.”
With a new group of guys behind him and no more free-for-all sessions at the famed Xtreme Couture, the father of a one-year old baby girl will look to cement his spot in the sport, but only on his own terms.
“I’m not too concerned about my status in the sport or any of that stuff anymore,” said Danzig.
“I feel like I’ll get back on top and I’ll get back and put myself in a good position again in this weight division. I’ll do it in my own time and on my own terms and I’m not really worried about what people think too much anymore. I think that’s where a lot of fighters go wrong is they start to listen to what everyone else says instead of what’s really going on.”