When looking back on his 2019, light-heavyweight Jamal Pogues acknowledges it wasn’t a perfect year, but it was about as close to perfect as he could have gotten.
Pogues went undefeated in 2019, winning both of his bouts, and raised his current winning streak to three in a row, capping off a strong streak of performances he had started the year earlier.
“2019 I would say went great,” Pogues told MMAWeekly.com. “Of course we had problems, but overall family, financially, career-wise, everything was good.”
Pogues feels like he fought well enough in his two wins, but is more so happy with how he was able to progress his game in 2019.
“I am my own biggest critic,” said Pogues. “I want to be perfect. Performance-wise the fans loved it, so I appreciate that.
“The big difference would be mentally. How I’m preparing now for my fights I’m doing everything better. I can’t say I’m the best or have everything perfect, but I’m doing more than I’ve done before.”
On Friday in Prior Lake, Minn., Pogues (7-2) will look to kick off his year with a title win when he faces Alex Polizzi (5-0) in the 205-pound championship main event of LFA 82.
“I know when I fight a guy who’s never lost before, he’s hungry, he doesn’t know how to lose, so my job is to give him his first loss,” Pogues said of Polizzi. “I know I have a big task at hand. I know I’m going to have to break this guy down. I’m confident. I had a good training camp. I’ve just got to be better that night.
It’s one of those things where everyone doesn’t give me the respect to my wrestling because I’m not a Division I or national champ, but I know I can wrestle with these guys even though I don’t have the pedigree these other guys have.”
Having been close to the next level following a win on Dana White’s Contender Series in his last fight, Pogues doesn’t want to set himself up for disappointment if he doesn’t make the jump right away. Instead he’s focused on facing Polizzi and nothing much after that.
“I don’t really think about it,” said Pogues. “I’ve already been there and already had my hopes disappointed and destroyed. Now I’m taking it a fight at a time, working on my weaknesses, and hopefully when I fight see more grown from the last time.
“I don’t try to get stressed out over it. I just take it day to day, training session to training session.”