After earning a title in his last fight, Mike Graves is ready to take a step up to a major fight promotion, but he’s not looking past the task at hand. Graves will defend his welterweight championship in the Titan FC 57 main event on Saturday.
When it comes to his unanimous decision victory over Jared Gooden at Titan FC 53 this past March, Graves is pleased with what he was able to accomplish in the fight.
The fact that he was able to showcase other areas of his game instead of his usual ground work was a big plus for Graves, in addition to picking up a Titan FC championship.
“It was a good fight,” Graves told MMAWeekly.com. “I always try to get the finish. I wasn’t able to, but I felt I was in control the whole fight. I felt my stand-up was good. I felt I opened up a bit more on my feet. I wasn’t relying on my wrestling and grappling so much. I thought it was pretty good.”
Though he was able to pick up the win over Gooden, Graves admits to being his own harshest critic, and as thus he’s always picking apart his fights and looking for areas he can get better in.
“I’m always a little bit hard on myself so I cannot only look at the positive things, but the negative things so I can constantly get better,” said Graves. “I think I’ve been doing that all of my fights. Besides a couple I think there’s been a constant improvement.
“I think I’m more relaxed on my feet. I’m more willing to exchange. I’m patient in situations that I need to be patient. I’m more relaxed when I go out to the fight and stuff like that.”
On Saturday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Graves (8-1-2) will look to defend his title for the first time when he faces Kamal Magomedov (7-0) in the 170-pound championship main event of Titan FC 57.
“He’s a tough fight, but so am I,” Graves said of Magomedov. “I think I just have to go out there and punch him more than he punches me; or kicks or takedown or any sort of thing like that. (It being a title fight is) pretty much the same, to be honest.”
When it comes to the next few months, Graves is more than happy to fight again if he’s healthy. And while a step up to the next level could come sooner than later, for now Graves has his mind set towards Magomedov and not much else.
“I’d like to get another fight this year if I could,” said Graves. “I think there’s a Titan show in December, but I’m not 100-percent positive about that. I just want to continue to fight; get consistent fights; and continue from there.
“(The next level is) definitely on my mind, but for now I don’t like to underestimate my opponent, so I’m always focused on the task at hand.”