Following a three-fight losing streak a couple of years ago, former UFC welterweight Bristol Marunde sat down with his head trainer, Robert Follis, and came up with a plan to get things back on track.
After seeing where he had gone astray, Marunde has been on a four-fight winning streak heading into his RFA debut on Friday.
“The recent surge in wins has been attributed to my training,” Marunde told MMAWeekly.com. “I started training for a big run. We didn’t change a lot of things in my training, but it’s been a slow grind over time and put together some wins.
“Even though it’s been two years in the making, we’ve stuck to plan and things have gone how (Follis) said they’d happen.”
Marunde feels he got too far away from his best attributes, and that’s what cost him.
“It’s been getting back to wrestling and getting back to ground-and-pound,” he said. “I wouldn’t say being less technical, but just getting my hands on people.
“I spent too much time training on weaknesses instead of just putting my game together and letting it go. I spent too much time on trying to make wins happen certain ways. We’ve simplified it. Let’s get in there, grind them against the cage, take them down, and smash them.”
When Marunde (16-9) steps into the RFA Octagon for the first time on Friday in Las Vegas, he’ll have no easy task as he tries to unseat Gilbert Smith (11-4) as the promotion’s 170-pound champion in the main event.
“In the past, I’ve never felt anybody who was stronger than me or overpowered me,” said Marunde. “A weakness for me would be opponents who are fast or more physically gifted and quicker than me. I don’t think Gilbert is going to be any faster than me, so that plays right into my game.
“I have the clear advantage of deciding where the fight goes. I really see myself outlasting him in the wrestling game, being more proficient in the stand-up game, so I’m going to tire him and get the win in the third round.”
While Marunde isn’t concerned so much with where he fights after Friday, he does realize the importance of getting a win against Smith, so he can continue to cement his career’s legacy.
“I think for Gilbert and I, this fight is important if we want to advance to a top show,” said Marunde. “This is the way to do it. This is the place to win. This is important.
“For me at this stage in life, fighting is not a financial standpoint. I do it because I love it. I don’t have to be with a certain promotion. I really want to crack the Top 10. Wherever I can do that, it’s fine. I just want to stay busy the last couple years of my career and stay strong.”