Cung Le welterweight James Terry is proving that he’s the kind of fighter that can face adversity and come out stronger on the other side.
After losing on only the second fight of his career last February to Tarec Saffiedine, Terry has rebounded with two straight wins and is looking to add a third at Strikeforce Challengers 15 on Friday in Stockton, Calif.
“I think I grew a lot from (the Saffiedine) fight and I think it’s shown in my last two performances,” Terry told MMAWeekly.com. “I was pleased with both my October fight – even though I didn’t get a finish – and in my last fight (in January).
“I’ve definitely improved. I haven’t gotten to show all the improvement I made, because a lot of it was in my ground game, but I got to showcase some striking, so that
As he’s matured, Terry feels he’s improved his work ethic, and it’s that change that’s made all the difference in recent months.
“I think the main thing I’ve done is have a little more discipline with my training and in my diet,” he commented. “I’ve been following the Zone Diet – not super-strict, but the basic concept of it – and I’m on a schedule now for my training beyond what the (USH Team) training is.
“Fighting at the levels I’m fighting at and want to fight at, I need to be able to be doing things on my own consistently. I think that’s one of the biggest things that’s really helped me is being on a schedule and being more organized with my training.”
Originally Terry was scheduled to face Coner Huen in a lightweight clash on Friday. Local Stockton fighter Josh Thornburg has since replaced Huen and the fight has been moved to a catch weight.
While he is disappointed he won’t be facing Huen, Terry does feel there is a bright side to the situation.
“It would have been a great fight to showcase my abilities against Coner Huen, because he’s a tough dude and people know him,” said Terry. “This fight is going to be at 165 (pounds), so it allows me to get acclimated to a lighter weight, but not quite going down to 155.
“I think (Thornburg is) a tough guy, and those guys from Stockton are no joke, so it’s going to be a war and I’m happy to be getting the exposure.”
Having defeated two of Thornburg’s teammates in his last two fights, Terry was asked if he has an advantage going into this bout because of the familiarity.
“I think it can work either way,” he replied. “They have a better understanding of me because of the last couple of fights. I’m sure they have a strategy, have reassessed, and are more comfortable with me, probably, even though I beat them.
“At the same time, I’m feeling very confident going into this fight. I’ve never been more ready for a fight than this fight; I can tell you that without a doubt.”
Having his last fight be a one-shot deal, Terry is set to re-up with Strikeforce on another long-term contract, even though at first he wasn’t sure how things would go with their recent acquisition by the ownership of the rival UFC.
“I was initially worried when Zuffa bought Strikeforce, but I’ve been assured that everything’s staying the same, so I’m going to sign the contract,” he admitted. “I’m very happy with Strikeforce.”
While he’s stumbled before, Terry has learned from his mistakes, and now at 30 years old, he’s begun to come into his prime and could see himself rise from challenger to contender in 2011.
“I want to thank SCORE Clinic, Key Chiropractic, Vision Quest Spine and Sports Clinic, Chris Shelton at the Morning Crane Healing Arts Center, KNOXX, BR Flooring, Celi Group Reality, Full Tilt Poker, and everybody here at the USH Fight Team (also known as Cung Le’s AKA),” he concluded.
“Check out my website, FitnessByIntesity.com, or come by Cung’s gym if you want to get in shape. If you guys can’t make it to Stockton, then check out my fight on Showtime, because I’m going to bring it.”