For Zach Underwood, 2012 started off slowly, but he finished the year out strong with two straight wins, including avenging a loss in what was only his second pro fight.
“I had an injury and it kind of held me back a little bit, but in my downtime I just learned more and worked on my holes in my game,” said Underwood. “I think it helped me appreciate fighting and made me a better fighter, more patient and focus more on what it did for me.
“The way I look at it, I won, and to me that’s all that matters. One loss in this sport can set you back years, so to me it’s better than going out there and going 0-2.”
After getting exposure for his revenge win over Chris Coggins in Bellator in August, Underwood now turns his attention towards the XFC and their event on Friday in Louisville, Ky. He faces veteran Deivison Francisco Ribeiro live on XFC 23 on AXS TV.
“He’s won a lot of fights and seems really tough and I think it’s a good opportunity to fight somebody at his level,” said Underwood of Ribeiro.
“I always tell people that in order to get to the next level you’ve got to fight the top guys in the division, so it’s a good fight for me and I’m just happy to fight someone like him finally.”
Underwood told MMAWeekly.com that to get a chance to get some national TV exposure on a big card will help be the base that will allow him to compete at a higher level of MMA and build his career.
“Everybody’s goal is to fight the best fighters in the world, and I appreciate what the XFC is allowing me to do,” he said. “I get to fight on TV and that’s a big thing for me too, a lot of people from my hometown who have never gotten an opportunity to see me fight the past couple of years because I’ve been fighting in different places.
“The more you win the harder the competition gets, that’s just the way it is and you have to embrace it. I look at where I started, training with my brother in our backyard in a small town to now fighting at these big events. I just enjoy every step I’ve taken and I want to keep winning and stay at this level.”