It took a little time after being secluded from the world for six weeks but Lauren Murphy learned possibly the most valuable lesson of her career after being on “The Ultimate Fighter”.
Murphy stepped onto the show that ultimately determined the first ever UFC women’s flyweight champion as one of the favorites to make it all the way to the finals. As a UFC veteran and former Invicta FC champion, Murphy had the pedigree to make waves in the competition but she ended up being eliminated in the opening round by future champion Nicco Montano.
As upsetting as that experience was for her, Murphy took away something from the show that she’s never forgotten and it’s helped prepare her for the upcoming fight against Sijara Eubanks on Friday night in New York.
“The biggest thing I learned from “The Ultimate Fighter” is for me, for my mindset, it’s better for me to worry about my god–mn self and not worry about anybody else,” Murphy said when speaking to MMAWeekly. “It was a hard lesson to learn but it really hit home for me on that show that I really just need to worry about being the best Lauren I can be and when I do that, I’m going to have a lot more fun, I’m going to be a lot more successful and I’m going to be prouder of my achievements, I’m going to focus better. It just changed my whole life to change my outlook.
“We’ve worked really hard to improve everywhere and as long as I keep doing that, I’ll be successful.”
When it comes to her machup this weekend, Murphy has nothing but good things to say about her opponent after they spent time together on “The Ultimate Fighter”.
In fact, Murphy actually pegged Eubanks as a potential threat in the tournament on their first day training in the gym before the rankings for the competition were announced.
“I think she was ranked way too low on the show,” Murphy said about Eubanks, who was originally ranked No. 12 in the tournament. “I remember we were on the show and it was our first day before we even got our rankings and I walked up to her and was like ‘I think it’s probably going to be me, you, Barb [Honchak] and Roxanne [Modafferi] are going to be the top four’. She was like ‘I think so too’ and I think that would have been way more accurate.
“She’s a really good fighter. She’s a Lloyd Irvin black belt, her stand up is obviously pretty good. She got that knockout on TUF. I think she’s pretty good everywhere. I think I am, too, so that’s what’s going to make it a great matchup.”
With champion Nicco Montano expected to face former bantamweight title contender Valentina Shevchenko latter this year, Murphy doesn’t see how a win over Eubanks shouldn’t secure her the next shot at the title.
“Of course. I think the winner of this fight should fight the winner of [Nicco] Montano and Shevchenko,” Murphy said. “I don’t know if that fight is even scheduled yet. It has to be scheduled or at least I know the UFC is working on it and they’re trying to make that fight. I think the winners should fight each other.”
Nothing is guaranteed yet when it comes to the title shot but that’s why Murphy wants to have an impressive outing on Friday to ensure that she’s done everything possible to convince the UFC that she’s worthy of a championship fight.
“I think it’s going to be my best performance in the Octagon ever,” Murphy said. “I’m finally at a point where I’m comfortable in there. I’m finally able to think while I’m fighting. It’s not so frantic for me at this point. This will be my sixth fight so it’s taken some time. But just for me as a fighter, that’s what I needed.
“That’s why I’m glad I have a tough opponent. Anybody can look good against a turd but when you have a tough opponent who is highly ranked in the division, that’s when you really have a chance to shine.”