According to Strikeforce welterweight “Relentless” Roger Bowling, last year’s biggest lesson learned was patience. “I learned that no matter how good you feel going into a fight, you need to fight smarter, and not necessarily so hard.
“To pick your poison and take the fight where you’re going to have the best chances of winning; not just giving the fans what they want to see.”
Still, even with that foremost in his mind, when it came to his first fight of 2012 against Brandon Saling this past Saturday at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey, Bowling found out that sometimes what we want and what actually happens are two separate things.
“I went out there and did exactly what I didn’t want to do,” he said. “I got into a brawl with him. It took me getting hit a couple times to make me realize where I needed to take the fight.
“All in all it was probably a C (grade) performance. It’s easy to pick yourself apart, but yeah, I did get the win and that’s what matters.”
Bowling explained to MMAWeekly.com that sometimes he gets caught up in his surroundings, which results in things going differently than anticipated.
“It’s easy to get off your game plan, especially in front of your hometown crowd,” he said. “You want to put on a great show for the fans.
“We knew he had a good chin going in and that he swung for the fences, so I got into more of a brawl than a technical fight like I’d planned.”
With back-to-back wins, Bowling sees himself right back in the welterweight mix in Strikeforce.
“I feel like I fit right in there with the top guys,” he said. “The division is still wide open, especially after (Tyrone) Woodley, (Bobby) Voelker or whoever fights for the title. I feel like I’m one or two fights away from a shot, and I’ll fight any of those guys.”
A title fight might not be far off. Bowling feels the steps he wants to take should bring that goal closer to reality in 2012.
“I want to broaden my horizons a little bit and go to different camps and work with different guys and get some different looks, and keep progressing and keep winning,” he said.
“I signed a new contract with Strikeforce, so that’s always a (step forward). I want to use (starting off with a win) as a forward push to set the pace for the rest of the year.”