Heading into his last fight of 2017 against Luka Jelcic at Bellator 190 in December, lightweight Brandon Girtz was in need of a win to snap a three-fight losing streak he had been on.
Not only did Girtz have to contend with the pressures of snapping a losing streak, but fighting internationally presented its own challenges. Thankfully, Girtz rose to the occasion and pick up a first-round TKO over Jelcic.
“It was definitely a different fight for me, given that it was overseas,” Girtz told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve never traveled outside the U.S. for a fight. It was quite an adventure. That’s how I looked at it. Getting in there and knocking him out like I did was how I envisioned it all.
“I like exploring and doing new things, and that’s how I looked at it. I didn’t look at it like any other fight. It wasn’t like every other fight. I traveled across the world. It was an eight-hour time difference. There were a lot of obstacles, but I had a good time.”
As 2018 marks a decade since Girtz started fighting MMA professionally, he is able to see how he’s adjusted to early disappointments in his career, and feels like he’s not slowing down 10 years into it.
“I look at fighting like a journey, and you never know where you’re going to go,” said Girtz. “I do know when I first started MMA, I definitely thought I was going to skyrocket faster than I did. I thought after my first couple fights I’d be in the UFC. But that’s when I learned things don’t always go to plan.
“Since then I never really thought how long my career would go. I told myself I’d never be a fighter who would fight past my prime. As long I continue to get better and do better, I’ll continue to fight. When that stops, I’ll know when to step away.”
Brandon Girtz Headlines Bellator 197 Opposite Michael Chandler
Girtz (15-7) will look to stay on the winning track when he has his first bout of 2018 versus Michael Chandler (17-4) in the 155-pound main event of Bellator 197 on Friday in St. Charles, Mo.
“Fighting is all about match-ups, and I think I match up great with him,” Girtz said of Chandler. “We’re both explosive fighters. I felt like I’m able to go with those type people. I like going head to head with another bull and coming out on top. I feel like this fight is going to be complete fireworks. You’re going to see two bulls go in there and go at it.”
While Girtz’s attention is mostly affixed on Chandler, he does admit a possible title shot against lightweight champion Brent Primus is something that he’s got a mind towards.
“I’ve got to stay focused on this fight, but you always look ahead,” said Girtz. “I think when I beat Chandler and take his head off, that I should get the next title shot. I’ve been lined up to fight Primus a couple of times in my career before, and I think this win would solidify that.”