With two wins in his three fights in 2019, lightweight Craig Shintani looks at the year as a positive one, but definitely something he can build off of for 2020.
In particular, Shintani wants to have the kind of performances he would deem flawless, and until he achieves that he’s not entirely satisfied.
“There were a couple bumps and bruises along the way I had to deal with that were nagging me throughout the year, but for the most part in MMA I was pretty active,” Shintani told MMAWeekly.com. “I feel like I made a lot of progress, but I feel like I want 2020 to be a step above that.
“There’s always room to improve. It wasn’t perfect, so I’m never going to be satisfied, but when I look back it wasn’t a bad year, but definitely I want to see that perfect year.”
With the strides he was able to make in 2019, Shintani believes he’s set himself up for the kind of 2020 he wants to have.
“I feel my body and mind are in a different place,” said Shintani. “I feel healthy. I feel rejuvenated. I had a lot of training camps. I feel like my skillset and where I am in life has put me in a much better place. I feel like in 2020 I’m ready for bigger things.”
On Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Shintani (9-3) will look to kick off his year in style when he takes on Cole Campbell (3-3) in a main card 155-pound bout at Unified MMA 40.
“He doesn’t have the greatest record, but he got a lot of respect in the community and everybody knows he’s a tough guy,” Shintani said of Campbell. “I won’t get anything easy in this fight.
“I don’t want easy fights. I don’t want guys who will go out there and quit. I’m excited to fight a guy who will go out there and fight to the bitter end. It’s a good push cardio-wise, a good push skill-wise, and I’m looking forward to the challenge and overcoming that challenge.”
While Shintani sees big things for himself in 2020, he doesn’t want to stumble by looking too far ahead, so for now he will take each opportunity that comes his way one at a time.
“I think fight by fight is the way to go,” said Shintani. “It can be daunting and challenging, and if you slip, it’s hard to get back up, so it’s one step at a time. You focus on getting this win now, and when that’s over, you can focus on the next fight and next win.
“It’s one fight a time and keep building on that through the year. I believe good things will come. I will get into double digit wins, and I believe I’ll get signed to a bigger promotion.”