It’s been five years since lightweight Merrick Duggan last stepped into an MMA cage, and stepping away from fighting is a decision that he’s at peace with.
Since leaving the sport, Duggan has found success in his business life and grown his family, so the fact that he was no longer fighting was an issue. It was only when an opportunity came to avenge one of his two losses that he decided to step back into the cage.
“I stepped away from MMA and got into real estate and it’s kind of gone really well for myself,” Merrick told MMAWeekly.com. “I wasn’t really planning on doing a comeback or anything like that, but when the one fight with Tim (Smith) come about it was kind of intriguing.
“I lost to him in our (Unified MMA) title fight in 2013, so it was a little bit of a cool challenge. We’ve both been on the couch, so to speak, for the past five years, so I thought, why not? I’m not getting any younger, and I think if I said ‘no’ I would have a bit of regret down the road, so (here we go).”
Duggan admits getting back into fighting hasn’t been the easiest thing, but his work ethic and motivations are more than enough to drive him forward.
“I know in this training camp I definitely questioned everything, but I think that’s normal because I jumped in with the Shaved Bears, which are a very deep room with a ton of talent and world ranked guys,” said Duggan. “That was humbling in itself, but I’m a firm believer that iron sharpens iron, so I’m always going to bring it and always put the work in for the fight.
“It’s getting the win back. My brokerage is doing quite well. I have a 16-month old daughter, so she’s a lot of my focus. I felt I was winning the last fight, made a mistake, and got caught, so it’s more just getting a win back and challenging myself one more time and just kind of scratch that itch.”
On December 6 in Enoch, Alberta, Canada, Duggan (8-2) will get his long awaited rematch with Tim Smith (14-9) in a 155-pound main card bout at Unified MMA 39.
“Obviously he’s a gamer,” Duggan said of Smith. “He always shows up. He’s a tough, durable guy, and is hard to put away. I just see it either going the distance or one of us catching each other.
“I’m prepared for wherever the fight goes. I’m looking forward to going in there, getting that first exchange over with, settling in, and just chip away (at him).”
While Duggan was intrigued enough with the prospect of rematching Smith, at this time he doesn’t have plans for a fulltime return to fighting.
“I’ve told myself and spoke with the promoter and whatnot that this will most likely be a one-off,” said Duggan. “I will keep training after the fight, just because I enjoy that aspect, being with the guys, being on the mat, and helping them prepare for fights.
“I guess you can never rule it out, but as of right now I don’t have any intention of doing another one or anything like that.”