There’s no denying that 2017 has been the best year of lightweight Jeff Peterson’s career.
After spending the first four years of his career on the local circuit, Peterson transitioned to the national stage with the LFA, and has since picked up two victories over highly-touted opposition, helping him build a five-fight winning streak in the process.
“I got to make my LFA debut back in May, which was pretty awesome, just because I was coming in as an unknown and I was like the biggest betting underdog on the card,” Peterson told MMAWeekly.com. “I was fighting Bobby Lee, and he had all this hype behind him and everyone thought he was going to steamroll me, but I went out there and kind of put it on him.
“I pretty much went right back in training camp and fought again in August against Brandon Jenkins. That one was a really, really, tough fight, but those are the kind of fights where I feel I can drag them into deep waters and drown them.”
For Peterson, his recent winning streak is in stark contrast to the beginning of his career, which saw him sporting a 3-4 record at one time.
“Part of it was that I did a lot of things really fast,” said Peterson. “When I did my pro debut I had just got out of the Marine Corps, I quit my job, I came out to California and lived at the gym for a while before moving back to Virginia and then back to California. I was rushing my career while I was still trying to get settled in. I didn’t really get my life together, but I was still trying to fight.”
Peterson (8-4) will look to add to his winning streak when he takes on veteran Mike Richman (18-7) in a main card 155-pound bout at LFA 29 in Prior Lake, Minn., on Friday.
“The thing with Richman that I’ve noticed is that he either wins by first round knockout or loses by decision,” Peterson said. “I don’t want to say he’s one-dimensional, but he’s predictable. He throws hands mostly. I don’t really have to worry about the takedown from him. He doesn’t throw a variety of kicks.
“My way to beat him is to work to my strengths and work to his weaknesses. I think I’m more well-rounded than he is. I think I have more tools in the toolbox to beat him. His only path to victory is trying to knock me out with his hands, whereas I have multiple paths to victory.”
As far as 2018 is concerned, Peterson just wants to continue to work his way upward and put himself in a position to move on to the next stage of his career.
“Like everyone else I want to get to the UFC,” said Peterson. “I know my record is not that great, but beating Mike will be a big step. It will kind of open some eyes and get a lot of people’s attention, picking on a tough guy like him. After that I just see where it goes.
“Maybe the LFA will give me a 155lbs title shot; maybe they’ll give me another tough fight; I just go one fight at a time and let my manager pick the best path. I’m just looking to challenge myself.”