by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
After a year plagued with injury and inconsistency in 2007, former International Fight League welterweight Rory Markham has turned himself around in 2008, and is on the cusp of a major career breakthrough.
Rebounding off a year-ending loss in December by defeating Jay Ellis at the debut Adrenaline event in Chicago just a couple short weeks ago, Markham’s good fortune got even better when the dream call came through saying he’d be taking on Brodie Farber at the upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Fight Night 14 event on July 19. The main event features UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva making his 205-pound debut against James Irvin.
“This is one of those things where I set a goal for myself when I started my journey down this path and the end result was to be in the UFC, and this is that dream coming to fruition,” said Markham.
According to him, the timing couldn’t have been better.
“It feels like everything was set in place just right,” he stated. “I trained hard for Adrenaline and ended up having an easy night, an injury-free night, and now I’m going to have an eight-week camp for this coming UFC fight.
“I’m in shape, having a nice healthy time right now and my conditioning is great, and now I’m ready to get back down to (Pat Miletich’s camp in) Iowa to really get grinding.”
Having worked out four weeks for his Adrenaline fight and now having to turn around and do it again for his UFC debut, it could be conceivable that Markham might be biting off more than he can chew physically, but he doesn’t feel that’s the case.
Thanks to the breakneck scheduling of the IFL over the past couple of years, he’s used to having little to no time off between match-ups.
“I’ll tell you this much, the IFL can really get you ready for a quick turn-around,” he commented with a chuckle. “As much as I griped and moaned about those seven fights a year, it’s allowed me to make this happen.”
Stepping into a new environment, especially as one as pressure filled as the UFC, has played havoc with many debuting fighters’ nerves.
Markham however, feels that while he will have some butterflies, having fellow former IFL fighters debuting on this same event and the IFL television experience will help him get over any issues.
“Having guys like Brad (Blackburn) and Reese (Andy) there will feel a little like home, but it will also be a little nerve racking in a new environment,” he stated.
“It feels like everything that I’ve done up to this point has almost groomed me for this moment. So I don’t think I’m going to be taken too back by the UFC jitters. There’s going to be some, but for the most part I feel like I’ve been there, done that.”
Markham’s opponent, Brodie Farber, will be making his UFC debut as well on July 19. A former Rage in the Cage middleweight title holder, Farber has mainly competed in Mexico lately, with his biggest fight coming in the form of a loss to former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk for the Sportfight promotion in 2004.
“A lot of the guys he has fought don’t have the experience I do, nor have they had the name recognition or record – so I’m a little more seasoned than Brodie,” commented Markham.
“I know he’s going to be tough. That first UFC fight people come out to really lay it out on the line, which is what I like.”
Having been a major 170-pound star for the IFL, Markham essentially starts over from the ground level in the UFC, but it’s a challenge he’s looking forward to in a place he’s always dreamed of being.
“This is my first fight coming up, so I’m low man on the totem pole, but I’ll tell you this much; with my ability and the power I hold in my hands, I have all the confidence in saying that I believe I can knock out anyone in the welterweight division,” he stated.
“I thank all my current fans and I hope to make more. I always try to be an exciting fighter for the fans and that recipe is not going to change in the UFC, if anything, it’s only going to get better – so thank you for the support.”