Terry Etim views UFC 138 with excitement. It is a chance to get back into the mix of the UFC’s lightweight division. A chance to finally get the injury bug off his back and start to regain some of the momentum he built since he signed with the organization.
“I am really looking forward to the fight (with Edward Faaloloto), as it’s been 19 months since I last fought,” explained the Team Kaobon standout.
“It’s not like I have been sitting around doing nothing for all that time, because I have had injuries and stuff to deal with, but now that is sorted and I have been training twice a day for the most part, it was good to get a fight and have a full camp.”
Nineteen months is a very long time, and a lot can happen to a person, a team, even a full weight class in the promotion you are fighting for. Etim’s last fight was in April 2010 on the UFC 112 card, and since that time, his division has undergone a massive overhaul.
BJ Penn split for the welterweight division and is contemplating retirement, the WEC ceased to be following its merger with the UFC, Donald Cerrone and Gilbert Melendez have materialized as the next challengers to Frankie Edgar’s crown, and a host of fighters were either cut from the roster or dropped down a weight class.
During all these changes, Etim had to watch from the sidelines hoping for a return to action so he could mark himself out as a danger man once again.
“The weight class is much more stacked now with the WEC guys there, but I see them as competition, not a threat. There are so many more good matches out there to make, and even more so if Strikeforce merges as well.
“I am not planning on going anywhere else. I am in this to get back to winning ways within the organization.”
The first person that stands in his way is a game Hawaiian with a 5-2 record, a fighter that is keen to get back to winning ways, having dropped his last two outings. Etim knows that Faaloloto is tough and willing, but feels that any fighter coming into a bout off the back of two loses is a very dangerous prospect.
“I have only seen one fight of his, which he lost, but he looks focused so I can’t take to much out of him getting beat. To me its just another fight, but I know that anyone with their back against the wall is more dangerous, so I expect he will come out fighting hard.
“I have the skills to deal with any situation, so I have to concentrate on making him worry about what I am going to do and take him into deep water.”
UFC 138 is quite the occasion for British MMA fans, having had a dearth of UFC events this year on account of scheduling conflicts and various other factors, but once the event was announced, all eyes turned to the cast. Several fights have changed since the first incarnation of the card – with fighters dropping out due to injuries – and in turn, the Etim and Faaloloto bout has been bumped up to the main card.
So does Etim feel any additional pressure to perform given the elevation?
“I don’t feel any different than before. You can’t go into a fight thinking about the PPV or TV situation, so it doesn’t matter if you are on the undercard or the main card, all that matters is picking up the win. A lot of people moaned about this card when it was announced, but you have to remember that the big names don’t always deliver the exciting fights as they have more on the line.
“Dana White always says before the fights to bring it, and if you do there is always the reward of a bonus of some sort. Its about who turns up the hungriest and wants to win.”
One thing that Etim had in his favor was having a teammate preparing for the same fight card.
“I have had some good sparring sessions with Paul Taylor and the rest of the Kaobon guys, Paul Kelly, Paul Sass, the Sinclair Brothers, Marc Scanlon, and the rest of the guys in the gym pushing us hard.”
Unfortunately, Taylor was in a minor car accident this week and had to withdraw after suffering a case of whiplash, but the preparation they shared, trying to peak at the same team, was a big bonus for Etim.
Not one to talk smack about his opponent, or to wax lyrical about how well his skills have evolved over the last 19 months, Etim prefers instead to let his performance on Saturday night do the talking. He plans to debut Terry Etim v2.0, new and improved, ready to rumble at UFC 138.