“Ultimate Fighter” alum Vinny Magalhaes admits his time in the UFC didn’t go as anticipated.
“When I was first got to the UFC and people were just starting to get to know me, that’s when I wasn’t really training for MMA. I wasn’t really focused,” Magalhaes told MMAWeekly.com.
“People just assume that you give 100 percent of yourself just because you’re in the UFC; you’re in the show, which wasn’t true.”
It’s not that Magalhaes was lazy or any such thing, it’s just difficult for anyone to excel at anything when they are being pulled in multiple directions.
“I was still doing grappling tournaments, but if you want to do well in MMA, you’ve got to dedicate yourself 100 percent just to MMA,” he stated.
While focus was one issue that kept Magalhaes from achieving the kind of success he had in the grappling world, he feels his biggest problem may have been more how he approached his opposition in the cage.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think the lack of striking was ever the problem, it was the lack of strategy,” he admitted. “Just not being smart, like going in there and trying to fight 15 minutes on my feet when I was not a good striker.”
Since leaving the promotion, Magalhaes has gotten things on track, and appears to have turned the corner towards achieving the kind of success many felt he’s been capable of.
“The last two years have been pretty good to me when it comes to MMA,” he said. “I had two wins, both by submission, then I had my knee injury and I took a fight (and lost) – which was not a good decision – but I came back and had two other wins by submission as well, so I have nothing to complain about.
“My plan from now on is to just keep getting wins and just forget about my first couple years of fighting.”
Magalhaes will get an opportunity to show a national audience how he’s changed when he steps back into the M-1 Global ring against Jake Doerr on Friday night for the promotion’s debut event on Showtime.
“I’m expecting him to swing and try to take my head off,” chuckled Magalhaes. “Normally he tries to take his opponents to the ground, but I don’t think that will be his game plan, at least at first.
“He might try to take me down and hold me down once or twice, but I don’t think that’s going to be his game plan. I’ve never been taken down – not because my defense is great – but because people don’t want to take me down and get caught in submissions.”
When it comes to Magalhaes’ strategy, a sense of urgency is key.
“As for me, I’ve just got to go in there and be the aggressor,” he stated. “I’ve lost fights just by trying to set up for 15 minutes when I didn’t have the striking skills, and other fights that I could take it to the ground and get the submission.
“I don’t care what he’s going to bring, but my game plan is to bring my ground game and try to finish the fight as fast as I can.”
Admittedly, Magalhaes’ record isn’t where he wants it to be, so his goal for the year is to get it on par with where he feels it should be and give the fans the thing he feels he lacked in his initial UFC run.
“I want to thank my sponsors Chipotle Mexican Grill and Xyience,” he concluded. “If you want to follow what’s going on with me you can check me out on Twitter @VinnyMMA or find me on Facebook.
“I still feel like I owe people something, so I’ve got to go in there like a vicious fighter, like I’ve got something to prove and they can expect that from me. I’m going to go in there and get a win.”