After a couple of rough years, The Ultimate Fighter 13 alumnus Shamar Bailey feels he’s made the right moves to get back on track.
“Any time you step up your level of competition you run the risk of losing,” said Bailey. “My time in the UFC wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. After getting cut I suffered a couple of losses, I just kind of stuck with it and worked hard and now I’m back in a position to make a splash in the MMA world.
“I think no matter what you’ve got to persevere and things will work themselves out, but you’ve got to re-evaluate and I definitely made some changing with coaches and training partners and changing gyms. You’ve got to make the moves that are right for yourself.”
Having changed not only his training routine, but also his mindset has helped him win back-to-back fights since returning to welterweight full-time.
“A year ago, the game plan was to go out and take down everybody and that was it; everything else was secondary,” he said. “Now it’s to put them on the ground and try to finish them on the ground. I’ve got to use my hands to set up the takedowns and get the takedowns to take their minds off of getting hit in the face.
“My whole scope of how I approach the game has changed.”
“He’s well-rounded and brings a lot to the table that I’ve got to work to overcome,” said Bailey of Santos.
“I think if I do what I’m supposed to it will be a short night with my hand raised, and if I don’t do what I’m supposed to it will be a short night with my hand not getting raised. I get excited about a match-up like that.”
Bailey told MMAWeekly.com that since Santos is such a complete fighter skills-wise, the key to victory lies outside of merely skillset.
“If anything it will be conditioning,” said Bailey. “If I do what I’m supposed to do, I think my conditioning will play a huge factor and then I’ll look for the finish after that.”
While at first a return to the UFC was prime motivation for Bailey to get back on track, now he just wants to be consistent, and if he returns one day, fine, but it’s not going to distract him in the interim.
“When I got released from the UFC (my goal) was to get three wins at 170 and this will be my third win, so that’s goal number one and we’ll go from there,” he said.
“If you’re fighting just to be in one promotion, you kind of lose track of why you’re fighting at all. I focus on the fighters that I’m facing and the rest will take care of itself.”