For some, change is difficult to deal with. As a matter of fact, most people in society just, flat-out, don’t like change. They would rather stick to what they were given and carry on with their day.
In MMA, things change in terms of opponents quite often. Injuries happen, and this turns the focus from one fighter’s style to another. This is the case for UFC lightweight Evan Dunham.
The Xtreme Couture fighter was originally scheduled to face Kenny Florian in the main event of UFC Fight for the Troops 2, but Florian was forced to pull out of the contest due to a knee injury he sustained while preparing for the fight with Dunham.
The fighter commonly known as “The Young Assassin” stepped up as Florian’s replacement, and now, Dunham has a new foe he must get through in his climb up the lightweight ladder. According to Dunham, this is nothing close to a step down in competition. His UFC Fight for the Troops 2 opposition is no easier than it was when Kenny Florian was slated to compete.
“My opinion, Guillard is just as dangerous.” Dunham told MMAWeekly Radio. “I think he’s just as tough of an opponent and just as much (of a) threat. I had to switch a few things up just because he’s a ‘righty’ instead of a ‘lefty,’ but not changing too much.”
It’s clear Dunham isn’t one to be forced to change his approach to things. Even when he has a different adversary standing across the Octagon from him, the extent to which Dunham adjusts is minimal, at most.
“I think we made the adjustments just fine and I’ll be prepared for him,” he said. “I try not to adjust my game too much for different fighters. I’m going to go out there and take the fight wherever. I feel comfortable, whether it be on the ground or on the feet. No major changes.”
There isn’t much work necessary in the film room either. Dunham feels his experience watching Guillard’s career is more than enough to learn what he’s preparing for on Jan. 22.
The focus, according to the UFC 155-pounder, is more on himself and he tends not to put too much into worrying about someone else.
“Not too much,” Dunham answered about how much film he views on his opponent. “I watch a little bit just to get some traits. I’ve been watching Melvin for a long time, even before he got into the UFC, so I’m pretty familiar with him. But I try not to concentrate too much on that stuff. I try to worry about myself and that’s about it.”
In his last fight, Dunham fought a seasoned veteran in Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk, giving up the split decision in the end, resulting in his first career loss. The fallout resulted in the decision being heavily debated. Many fans and media disagreed with the judges decision, but, as everyone may know by now, one should never leave it in the hands of the judges.
Regardless, UFC brass took notice of Dunham’s effort and rewarded him with main event status for his following venture in the Octagon. The fight date even came a bit sooner than he expected, but Dunham was absolutely open to the opportunity.
“I was expecting more February, but when I was offered main event status, I took it right away,” Dunham explained.
Taking time off is something a lot of fighters do after a bout. Vacations are always nice, but once Dunham experienced a loss for the first time in his professional career, getting back in the gym was high on his list of priorities. He made it clear, while relaxing is all good, training is part of his resting period, as well as his job.
“I was still training as much as possible,” he said about his time off. “I was back in the gym a week after the fight. I took just about a week off from the fight, doing absolutely nothing.
“It was fun, but training is my hobby, as well as my job. It’s hard to stay away too long.”