Being called a prospect in the sport of MMA is a compliment by most standards. Being called a contender is even better.
That’s the distinction C.B. Dollaway is looking for as he steps into the cage with Mark Munoz at UFC on Versus 3 on Thursday night in Louisville, Ky.
The one-time “Ultimate Fighter” finalist, who now has more fights in the UFC than he did in his entire fighting career before that show started, is ready to take that next step in his career.
“Getting the co-main event, it’s my first one, so it’s a big opportunity for me, and hopefully go out there and perform like I know I can,” Dollaway told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
Now that he has a full-time gym of his own to train at, Power MMA and Fitness in Arizona, Dollaway has found stability for the first time in a couple of years. His training has hit new heights and, while he admits he is still probably at least a year away from feeling like he’s hit his peak, Dollaway is ready to start that path on Thursday night.
The fight with Munoz will bring an interesting dichotomy to Dollaway’s preparation. He has fought a lot of good wrestlers throughout his career, and he himself is a decorated wrestler out of Arizona State, but this will be an interesting test for him against Munoz.
“He’s by far the best wrestler I’ve ever fought. He’s an NCAA champion, a few time All-American, so he’s at the top of the scale of all the guys I’ve ever fought. I’ll just fight him wherever it goes,” Dollaway stated.
“I make a game plan, but game plans go out the window as soon as you start fighting. I’ve just been working on being well rounded and wherever the fight goes I’m prepared.”
This is really the second time that Dollaway has prepared for Munoz. His teammate, Aaron Simpson, fought Munoz just last November, and of course Dollaway was a key to his preparation, mimicking Munoz and helping his friend prepare for the fight.
Dollaway looks at Munoz for a little bit of redemption in this fight. When Munoz fought Simpson, it was Munoz who came out on top. Dollaway is adamant about saying there is nothing personal in this fight, there’s still a little bit of fire inside of him to get a win back for his team.
“We’re buddies, but regardless, I want to go out and get that for my teammate,” said Dollaway. “I want to go out and get that one back for us. It doesn’t matter who it was, someone beat my teammate, I want to go and get it back for the Arizona guys.”
If that’s motivation for Dollaway, the ultimate driver for this fight is knowing that the winner will catapult into a very good place in the middleweight division. With a list of past contenders currently recovering from losses while Anderson Silva is awaiting word on his next opponent, the chances of getting closer to a title shot with a win on Thursday night looks better and better.
“It’s definitely a division where guys can make their names right now. If you step up, put together a few good fights, you could be right there. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Dollaway said.
“Winning this fight should bring good things for the future.”