After a string of four losses in five fights, middleweight veteran Joe “El Dirte” Doerksen has rebounded with back-to-back wins in his last two fights. He most recently scored an impressive victory over fellow former UFC fighter Kalib Starnes at Aggression FC 11 on Sept. 18 in Winnipeg, Canada.
“I feel like he fought better than he has in years, so it was tougher than maybe people were expecting it to be,” said Doerksen of the fight. “He came in great shape, ready and motivated; so I think I beat him at his best and I’m feeling really good about that.”
Doerksen was able to control much of the fight by sticking to his gameplan early and then making adjustments late to get the unanimous decision victory.
“The first two rounds went as I expected; I knew he’d try to take me down and I’d be able to strike him standing,” said Doerksen. “In the third round, he was kind of making adjustments and landing more punches, so I changed it up a little bit and took him to the ground and stayed on top him and tried to take away any chance of him landing a big punch.”
When asked if he feels a win over a tough opponent such as Starnes does a lot for his career at this point, Doerksen replied with a chuckle, “It will certainly do more than a loss.
“I think the biggest thing is that it was a really good fight. If it were an easy fight, I don’t really know if it would have been that impressed. I feel that he came so well prepared and it was so competitive that it helps more than anything.”
During his losing streak, rather than stubbornly stay the course or make wholesale changes, Doerksen told MMAWeekly.com that he tweaked his outlook a little and it’s paid off.
“One of the things I shifted focus on was fighting for money to fighting for fun,” he said. “I kind of turned it back into a hobby rather than a job. I don’t know if it’s made a huge difference, but I feel better and I’m having more fun with it, so I’m happy about that.
“I think it almost became monotonous. I’ve been fighting for so long that sometimes you just get unmotivated. After a break, I realized that this is what I wanted to do, and while I won’t be doing it forever, I’d like to do it to the best of my abilities with the time that I have left.”
At 34 years old, Doerksen doesn’t feel like hanging the gloves up just yet, but he acknowledges that the day isn’t far off when he will. Until then, he hopes he can make one more solid run and then go out on his terms.
“If the next one isn’t where I want it to be and as successful, then I think I’ll look at doing something different with my life,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 13 years, but at some point I’d like to pursue other things in my life. It’s been great being a fighter, but I know I can’t be fighting at 45, that’s for sure.
“When I retire, I want to go out with a bang. I don’t want to retire now, but the last two (wins) especially have been really good, so I want to keep that streak going and have great fights for another 10 fights or so and reassess the situation and see how I feel.”