Coming off a unanimous decision win over Nick Badis at LFA 69 in June of 2019, featherweight Natan Levy had no idea it would be the last time he’d have a fight for over a year.
Following the bout with Badis, Levy was sidelined by injury only to recover and have to wait even longer to return to fighting thanks to the novel coronavirus.
“I had a little injury and the doctor told me I had to rest for six weeks or it’s just going to get worse and drag, so for the first time in my life I hadn’t trained for six weeks,” Levy told MMAWeekly.com. “I thought it was a good time to get a honeymoon, which we didn’t get to do because of the fight camp earlier. That’s really been it; ever since I’ve been waiting to get booked.
“A couple of fights fell through. I was going to compete in March, but then the coronavirus happened and everything got canceled. Now we’re in the situation where I haven’t fought in a year. I think I’ve improved a lot this year, and I have a lot to prove. I have to remind people who I am and what I’m here for in this sport.”
Throughout the last year, Levy has done what could with the circumstances he found himself in at any given time to work on his game and make sure when he did return to fighting that he’d be the best version of himself he possibly could be.
“I did my best to improve everything,” said Levy. “Even during the coronavirus times and you couldn’t go to the gym, I would go to the park and train very hard. It was the first time I ever was consistent with lifting weights. Doing this for a few months made me so much strong. I really feel like I’m a different fighter from last year.
“I had a couple of friends who are national wrestling champions from Israel, and I had the opportunity to teach them striking, starting from zero and go over everything. I’ve even learned from the fundamentals, teaching, repeating it and training with them, so I was redoing it myself. They helped me out a lot with the wrestling. They taught me wrestling from zero again. I think I really improved.”
On July 10 in Sioux Falls, S.D., Levy (4-0) will have his first fight in over a year when he faces Ben Lugo (5-3) in an LFA 84 main card lightweight bout.
“He’s been pretty much everywhere and has a lot of fights: amateur fight, boxing fights, kickboxing, and MMA. He’s well-rounded, but I think I’m all around just better everywhere,” Levy said of Lugo.
“I know it’s going to be hard to surprise him because he has a lot of experience – more than twice than what I have as a pro, and more than that as an amateur – but I also feel he hasn’t fought anybody like me and what I brought to the table. The guys he beat were okay but they weren’t me. It’s going to be tough to surprise him, it won’t be easy, but I’m going to bring something he’s never seen before.”
While he’s normally one to take things one at a time, Levy is eager to make up for his lack of activity this past year and close out 2020 as busy as he possibly can be.
“When I haven’t fought in a year, I don’t want to fight and then sit on the bench for six to nine months,” said Levy. “Hopefully I get out of this fight in one piece and completely healthy, and then compete a few months later. I know some things are out of my control, but I will do everything possible to fight as soon as possible. I want to be active.”