When bantamweight Kevin Wirth picked up a unanimous decision victory over Ryan Lilley at LFA 74 in September of 2019, little did he know he would not return to the cage for 14 months afterwards.
While the novel coronavirus may have put Wirth’s plans to return to fighting on hold for much of 2020, he feels like he used the time productively and was able to remain active with other fighters might not have been able to.
“I live at the gym that I train at, so when everything was closed down I still had access to a lot of the equipment and that stuff,” Wirth told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a lot of training by myself, strength and conditioning, shadowboxing, whatever I could do to keep myself ready and stay ahead of everyone else.
“It was kind of a break at first, because I’ve always tried to stay ready in case of anything short notice coming up, but I knew nothing was coming up for a minute, so at first it was nice, but then it got too much. It was too much time off. I like fighting and I like staying active.”
For Wirth possibly the most important developing he did during the coronavirus lockdown was to his mental game and add that to what he already feels is a strong physical game and skillset.
“I can work to develop the mental side of it when I can’t develop the physical side of it,” said Wirth. “I’m at the point where my physicality, my skills, my speed, strength, all that stuff is there, so the mental side is the part that I’m interested in developing anyway.
“I feel better than I have mentally and physically. I have the best training partners than I ever had. We’ll see (how I’ve developed) after the fight, but I feel great.”
This Friday in Park City, Kansas, Wirth (8-1) will look to pick up his fourth win in a row when he faces Askar Askar (10-1) in the 135-pound main event of LFA 92.
“I think his biggest thing is he has good hands,” Wirth said of Askar. “But I think he’s a little ploddy, a little basic, when it comes to the footwork. That’s where I think I’m going to be able to beat him.
“In and out movement and cutting angles; I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep up with me in the footwork department. That’s kind of my game anyway. That’s what I like to do. I think that’s going to be the biggest difference between me and him.”
While Wirth prefers to be deliberate with his career, having missed so much time due to no fault of his own makes him eager to be as active as he can be to close out 2020.
“One thing at a time, but I definitely want to get the momentum back up and going,” said Wirth. “I’ll have this fight, then a couple weeks off to heal or whatever, and then on to the next thing. I want to keep the ball rolling for sure.”