Former UFC heavyweight Paul “Headhunter” Buentello isn’t afraid to admit that he’s been through some dark times.
Over the course of the last several years, Buentello has bounced around promotions. Through one particularly bad stretch, he lost five of seven fights.
Determined to get back on track, Buentello faced his demons and has since gone on a four-fight winning streak and has reinvented himself as someone to be reckoned with in the light heavyweight division.
“What it was, I was in a deep hole that I had to pull myself out of,” said Buentello. “Let’s be honest, the word is ‘depressed’. I couldn’t separate issues from being personal to being in the fight game with all these issues.
“I actually got some help, talked to some people, and I understand what my differences are and set that aside. My life is in a better spot right now. My mental game is a lot better and I feel I’m a lot stronger mentally.”
2013 was an especially positive year for Buentello, who with two wins raised his overall MMA record to 33-15.
“I got to fight in Russia and then I made the drop to 205 and making that drop really resurrected my career,” Buentello told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m really motivated and excited about this next step this year. I’m a lot healthier now, the weight comes off easier now, and I’m just excited about what’s to come.”
“I have to control the pace,” said Buentello. “(Dennis is) coming off of six wins and, from what I understand, he’s a top five fighter in Oklahoma right now. So for me to come into this fight, I have to be really focused and control every aspect of the game.
“I have to land and make him miss and just use my experience to the fullest and dominate this fight in every aspect.”
For Buentello, now that he’s on the right track, he wants to continue to prove the people who doubt him wrong and hopefully make a return to the biggest stage in MMA and make an impact in a new division.
“I want to keep winning and proving that if you stay focused on things and stay mentally strong and have support around you, you can accomplish anything at any age at any time in your life,” said the 40-year-old Buentello.
“I want to keep putting on good fights and hopefully get back in the UFC and fight until the wheels fall off.”