by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
After the IFL folded last year, the fate of many of the fighters was more than unclear.
While some managed to get picked up by promotions like the UFC and the now-defunct Affliction, others have had to return to smaller promotions to put together runs that could eventually lead them back to the big time.
Perhaps no fighter has had the type of success in the smaller shows as Team Quest light-heavyweight Aaron Stark.
Currently riding a six-fight winning streak, Stark will attempt to continue to work his way up in a sizable clash with former UFC 205-pounder Tim Boetsch at Saturday’s King of the Cage event in Everett, Wash.
“I just take every fight as it comes,” humbled Stark to MMAWeekly.com about his current winning streak. “I like to fight, I do. If it makes me crazy, then it does, but I enjoy doing it.”
His upbeat attitude helped him turn his career around, just a few short years ago he was 3-4, riding a two-fight losing streak.
“Part of it was that I was just so damn green when I started out,” stated Stark of his dubious beginning. “I had my very, very first fight in April or May of ’05 and by December I was fighting my first pro fight.
“My first fight was with six months experience or less, and I just had a lot to learn. All kidding aside, I’m just getting better, and it’s just a natural progression of going to practice and working with guys and spending time on the MMA part of my life.”
Due to a multitude of fights falling through, Stark hasn’t been in a competitive MMA fight since November of last year.
When asked if ring rust was a worry for his return against Boetsch, Stark replied, “I think worrying about something like ring rust after you’ve already signed to do this is a complete waste of time.
“I don’t know how they do it at other gyms, but at Team Quest we spar a lot. I’m not going to tell you that sparring is fighting, but it’s pretty damn close and we bang pretty hard. I think if you if you’re going to fight, that’s how you should train to fight – hard.”
While he is definitely not a fighter to be taken lightly, Stark feels that with the skills he possesses, Boetsch is beatable.
“I know he comes from a wrestling background, but I don’t really see it,” said Stark. “I don’t mean it in any disrespectful way, but he’s predominantly a striker from what I’ve seen.
“It looks to me like a lot of the guys he’s fought who are wrestlers have given him quite a bit of problems.”
Stark further commented about the match-up, “Wrestling is obviously my strong point. I look to integrate that with the other skills I’ve developed over the years and just go out and fight my fight.”
Scheduled to travel to Aruba on Sept. 5 for a single-night eight-man tournament, Stark is looking to end the year strong in hopes of attracting big league attention.
“I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t pick opponents,” he admitted. “If Matt Lindland calls me up and says I have a fight, I don’t ask who it is, I just always say yes.
“Of course if you can beat big-name competition it improves your stock, but I’m just going to get out there and win and end up on one of the larger shows. That’s always the ultimate goal is to get there and start winning fights there.”
In what could be an explosive fight between two fighters looking to ascend back to the top, Stark hopes to keep the fight in his world and prove it’s him who deserves that coveted return shot.
“I really do appreciate the fans and their support,” he closed out. “I started out as a fan, so I understand their side of it. I want to thank my family, the gym, and my coaches: Robert Follis, Matt Lindland, and Clayton Hires.
“I’m definitely excited. I’ve never fought in KOTC before, it’s relatively close to my home and I’m looking forward to being a part of the show – I think it will be an exciting time.”