After splitting his first two pro fights, featherweight up-and-comer Nick Macias took stock in what he was doing and has since reeled off four-straight wins.
“Basically I’ve been acting like a professional,” he said. “A lot of the fight game is mentality and focus. If you go in there and know you’re going to win, that’s what ends up happening.
“I’ve just been grinding non-stop in the gym and it’s been paying dividends.”
Having started his career as a ground-based wrestler, Macias has worked hard to improve his stand-up, which he feels could lead to a war on the feet in his upcoming bout at Ring of Fire 42 on Saturday against former UFC fighter Tyler “Thunder” Toner.
“I think there is a good chance of a slugfest,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “I have a tendency and get stubborn; like if I fight a wrestler, I try to take him down, or with a jiu-jitsu guy I try to do that. I like striking, and I don’t really see Tyler having a huge advantage there, so I think there’s a pretty good chance of (it staying on the feet).”
Macias also feels physicality could play a big role in the fight if they do end up grappling.
“Tyler’s got good jiu-jitsu, but his wrestling isn’t his strongest point by any means, and if it goes to the mat, I’ll probably have my way with him with physical strength and size,” said Macias. “He’s not known for being super-strong, so I think I will be able to handle him if it leads to that.
“He’s got a great gas tank, but I think part of it comes from the fact that he’s a very disciplined, patient fighter. If I were to really push the pace on him the first two rounds, I can definitely see it going my way in the third.”
In what could be the biggest fight of his career, Macias is surprisingly far from nervous.
“I love solid competition, and Tyler’s definitely solid competition,” he said. “It gives me motivation and a reason to train. It’s exciting for me.
“I don’t really feel any pressure going in. I kind of go in knowing that I’m going to win, so it alleviates a lot of pressure.”
A win over Toner on Saturday night in Broomfield, Colo., could be just the thing he needs to set him on the path to greater things in 2012.
“I just keep my winning streak alive and keep facing better opponents on bigger shows,” he said. “Fight guys like Tyler who have been there and have built a name, and take a shot at getting there myself.
“I think if you win enough fights the rest of it kind of takes care of itself.”