There’s no denying that 2014 was a bad year for lightweight prospect Justin “Ruckus” Harrington. Previously undefeated going into the year and holding the CageSport 155-pound title, Harrington lost both of his bouts, and it wasn’t clear how he’d respond in 2015.
What Harrington did in his first fight of 2015 on July 11 at Super Fight League 41 was defeat Harrison Bevens via second-round TKO and reclaim the title he had lost last year, the rebranded SFL America lightweight championship.
“It was a tough fight, and I’m glad I grew my beard out,” Harrison told MMAWeekly.com. “My stand-up was a little sloppy and could have been a bit better, but coming off a nine-month layoff and two losses, I was a little gun shy, but as soon as I got it together it was pretty nice.”
As Harrington mentions, he had to sit on his two losses for nearly a year, but he remained focused and things eventually turned around.
“Just how the belt was kind of bouncing around with Drew (Brokenshire) winning it and then vacating it, Julien (Erosa) winning it and then vacating it, I knew that if I stayed focused and got sharper and got better where I was lacking that I could get the belt back and that’s what I did,” said Harrington.
Harrison knows the hard work isn’t done though now that he’s champion. In fact, it only gets tougher from here.
“I worked so hard to get it, and then losing it, it means the world (to have it back),” said Harrington. “I just feel like it’s going to catapult me to the next level if I just continue to dominate and be king.
“(Having the title) just makes you more focused because you know what it was like to be hungry, so you have to be on your game no matter what. Every training session you have to progress, because guys are getting better and better because they want what you have.”
SFL America title in toe, Harrington is looking forward to facing the challenge of keeping it over the second half of 2015.
“I’m just getting into my potential in what I can do,” said Harrington. “(Being champion) is going to make me a better athlete. If I just keep training and believe in myself, I know the sky is the limit for me.
“I’ll do whatever (SFL) wants me to do. Jason Novelli is the number one contender, so I’ve just got to stay focused, train, and whenever that date is set, then I’ll have to defend my belt.”