It has been just over a year and a half since Bellator featherweight Bubba Jenkins suffered the second loss of his career to Georgi Karakhanyan. Since then, Jenkins has won three straight fights, and feels like he’s becoming the best fighter he can become during that span.
“I’ve had no losses, no injuries, and I’m pretty happy with my development,” Jenkins told MMAWeekly.com. “I believe that I’m a completely different fighter, a completely more well-rounded fighter than I ever was since the last time I fought Georgi.”
One area that Jenkins is particularly pleased in is his growth in the psychological aspect of fighting. Being more of a veteran fighter now, he feels, will make just as much impact in his career going forward as anything he does physically.
“I think the biggest jump forward has come with my mindset,” he said. “My strongest ability is not my wrestling, it’s not my speed or power, it is the muscle between my ears. The way I see things, the way I comprehend, the way I run quickly, it’s all about my mind.
“I do believe my mind is at a much more comfortable place than it was then. I do feel that I’m more prepared now than I ever was. The biggest difference is I’m not a rookie anymore. I’m not new to the big stage or big lights anymore. I’m pretty experienced now.”
On August 26 in Anaheim, Calif., Jenkins (11-2) gets his long-awaited rematch with Karakhanyan (24-6-1) in a main card 145-pound bout.
“He’s coming off of two losses, and I’m coming off three wins, so we’re going in two different directions in our careers,” said Jenkins of Karakhanyan. “I do believe the best of Georgi Karakhanyan is behind him, and the best of me is in front of me.
“He can say and do and act the way he wants to act, but real recognizes real, and I know he’s got one foot out of the door and one foot in the cage, and that he wants to be elsewhere, so I’ll make sure he wants to be elsewhere when he steps in the cage with me.”
While Jenkins feels he’s earned his way into title contention, he knows that his time will come when it’s supposed to, so until then he’s going to continue down his path and work his way towards his goals.
“Timing is everything,” he said. “I’m very patient, but I’m also very knowing of what I’m deserving. Beating the guys that I’m beating – especially coming off a win on Aug. 26 – I’ll be looking to see what’s next.
“Mostly I’m going to focus on what I can do with what I have and let everything else fall under that. I don’t control whether I’m on prelims or on the main card, I control where I show up, when I show up, how much I show up, and things like that.”