Since his first day in MMA, Lance Palmer has had a spotlight shining directly on his back.
The former Ohio State All-American wrestler was a highly touted prospect before he even laced his gloves up for the first time, and then, after joining Team Alpha Male, the expectations got even higher.
Palmer hasn’t disappointed thus far in his career, picking up four wins in four chances, but now he gets the chance to really show what he’s been learning when he faces WEC veteran Fredson Paixao at RFA 4.
The spotlight has never bothered Palmer much though, and he’s ready to show that once again when he steps in for fight No. 5 on Friday night.
“Some guys thrive off the pressure and thrive off the spotlight, and then there’s other guys that kind of get nervous in a bad way. I mean, you’re always going to get nervous. I get nervous in a way where I’m so excited to get out there; I can’t wait to get out there and perform in front of everybody and show what I’ve been doing the past few months. That’s the way I’ve been since I was younger,” Palmer told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
It was a message instilled by Palmer’s father years ago that got the Ohio native on point for his wrestling career, and it also transitioned extremely well to his MMA career. In a sport that’s driven by “what have you done for me lately,” Palmer knows all too well that you can’t live on past accomplishments and you have to do great things in the present to succeed.
“You’re going out there and you’ve got to prove yourself every single time you go out there. You’re only as good as your last fight and your last competition, so you’ve got to go and make a statement each time you go out there and that’s the mentality I take,” said Palmer.
Coming into his next fight, Palmer is facing the most established veteran he’s fought in his young career, but he knows it’s time to prove himself.
Walking along the same trail as his teammates, like Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez, Palmer believes this is his chance to show everybody who he’s going to be as a fighter. Fredson Paixao just happens to be the guy standing in his way of proving that.
“He was already at the level I want to get to, so beating a guy like that, and a guy who is the jiu-jitsu coach for a lot of the Zuffa guys, obviously they’re going to be keeping an eye on him. So if I can go out there and take it to him, it’s going to be great for me,” said Palmer.
Palmer faces Paixao as part of the televised RFA 4 card from Las Vegas, airing on AXS TV Friday night.