For The Ultimate Fighter 19 alum Josh “Hillbilly Heartthrob” Clark, missing nearly two years of action wasn’t something he anticipated.
Coming off a win over Justin Gamble to close out 2014, Clark stepped into another combat sport and ended up suffering a concussion, which along with other ailments kept him out of action for an extended period of time.
“I ended up taking a short-notice boxing match,” Clark told MMAWeekly.com. “The money sounded good. It ended up not going the way I expected it to go. I got a pretty nasty concussion, so I just went ahead and took the rest of the year off.”
In an age where concussions have become a hot topic in sports, Clark definitely believes it’s something he’ll keep a closer eye on now that he’s been sidelined with one.
“Honestly the first three or four months, I could tell it had a pretty big impact on me, but now I definitely feel fine,” he said. “Now that I’m getting over (one), it’s something that I’ll definitely think about a little bit more and take into consideration.
“When you’re younger, you get hit real hard, you just keep going and don’t really think about things like that. Now that I’m getting older, I feel like it’s a little bit more of a concern.”
Now that he’s back to feeling healthy, Clark (11-2) steps in to take on prospect Trevin Giles (6-0) in the 185-pound main event of RFA 41 in San Antonio, Texas, on July 29.
“He seems like a tough kid, but I feel like he doesn’t really move his feet good when he’s coming forward, so I plan on making him come to me and catch him coming in,” said Clark of Giles. “I know as the fight goes on, he’s going tgileso make a mistake and I’m going to be able to capitalize on it.
“If I stand there in front of him, he’ll land his shots, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to deal with my hand speed and my footwork.”
Looking ahead, Clark wants to get a chance to fight for a title and then hopefully ride his momentum to a return shot at the UFC before the year is out.
“I want to get that RFA belt, hopefully in September and defend it before the year is up, and then hopefully get my shot in the UFC and get back to where I feel I belong,” Clark said.
“It’s crazy that I got a short notice call for the middleweight contender bout, so I feel like it’s in my best interest to get this belt, and then hopefully I’ll be in the UFC before the beginning of next year.”
(Photo courtesy of Bellator)