Following a 10 year layoff from MMA, middleweight Fran Collins returned to the sport in 2022 and continued right where he had left off a decade earlier.
Having one his first two pro bouts, Collins continued his undefeated ways in 2022 by picking up back-to-back victories for the CES promotion.
“2022 was a great year for me to get my feet wet again,” Collins told MMAWeekly.com. “Obviously getting back after a long layoff there were questions in my mind if I could still could perform and compete how I wanted to, so I took it slowly and did it the right way.”
A big part of Collins’ return was the fact that he’d made changes in his personal life which allowed him to re-enter MMA with a fresh slate and with the support he needed to succeed.
“I rebuilt my mind after becoming sober,” said Collins. “My mind, my body, it was like starting at step one.
“I was fortunately that my coach took me back under my wing, and I went back in there and acted like I was a brand new rookie, working my basics and fundamentals, and through the year added things that I knew I was missing from years ago, whether it was my diet, a consistent schedule, and surrounded myself with people who were supportive.”
For his first bout of 2023, Collins (4-0) steps up to the biggest challenge of his career to date when he faces veteran Tim Caron (12-5) in the 185-pound championship main event of CES 72 in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“He’s a veteran of the sport. Either way I’ll be excited to shake hands with him after, pick his brain, win, lose or draw – I have nothing but respect for him,” Collins said of Caron. “I know what I bring to the table and either way it’s going to be a battle and I’m excited – I’m excited.“
For Collins’ return to MMA, he’s taking it not only one fight at a time, but one day at a time, and seeing where the path laid out before him leads him to go.
“I believe that God has set me on a path here and that doors have been opening up as I go along,” said Collins. “Whether I’ve felt like I needed work on my breathing I ran into someone to help me with my breathing, whether I needed help with my core strength I ended up running into somebody that had a yoga place, everything has been kind of like that for me; it’s God’s plan.
“It always comes together and I’m very grateful for that.”