For lightweight prospect Justin Harrington, the cure for a career low was facing one of his toughest opponents.
“Harrison is a gritty, tough dude,” Harrington told MMAWeekly.com. “I was coming of a nine-month layoff, so I was a little rusty, but my cardio was great and I just knew I was going to win that fight. Again, Harrison was really tough and put it on me a little bit.”
After losing his title last year, and following that up with a second straight defeat, Harrington needed to make things right, and that’s exactly what he did.
“I was down in the dumps,” said Harrington. “I had lost the title and chalked that up to being a fluke, trying to hype myself up, but then I had that fight in New Jersey and got manhandled.
“To come back after nine months and put on a performance (against Bevens) like that, it felt better than the first time I won the title.”
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Harrington (7-2) will make the first defense of his regained SFL America lightweight title on Friday in Tacoma, Wash., against late replacement Bobby McIntyre (4-1).
“He’s a really tough dude,” said Harrington of McIntyre. “He’s young, hungry, and came up fast. I was down at the (Ultimate Fighter) tryouts with him and got to see a little bit of him. It’s going to be a good fight.
“I trained hard and have been getting better, so I’m ready. I told my daughter I’m not going to lose the title again, and that means something to me, so he’s not going to take it.”
After seeing fellow SF L America champion Julien Erosa get picked for The Ultimate Fighter, Harrington is out to prove that he deserved an opportunity, but at the same time knows he can’t let that distract him from the task at hand.
“I’m not going to lie to you and say no (I’m not trying to prove a point), but really I’m just going to keep that out of my head,” said Harrington. “My performance will take me to where I need to be.
“I can talk and say I deserve this or deserve that, but it’d be hollow words. I believe the proof is in the pudding, so if I go out there and perform how I can, someone is going to pick me up. I’ll get there when I’m supposed to get there, and when I get there, I’ll show up ready.”