With three finishes in his first three fights as an amateur, lightweight prospect Nick Payne has quickly made a name for himself in the Memphis fight scene.
And while many people would be pleased with that kind of success, Payne is careful to take things in stride and not glorify himself too much.
“People thing that I’ve been doing pretty good, but me, personally, I think I do all right,” Payne told MMAWeekly.com. “Every fight I’m getting better. I see the improvements. I’m working hard. Everybody should expect me to do a lot better.
“I don’t think anybody will ever be perfect. You can try to get as close as possible to it. I won’t criticize myself in a bad way, but I know I can keep improving.”
Another thing that has helped Payne stand out is his relation to former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, being the MMA legend’s cousin.
“I really do my own thing, but people do know about it,” said Payne. “(Jackson) has given me a couple pep talks, motivation talks, and that helps, but I’m doing my own thing really.”
Payne (3-0) will look to add to his impressive start when he takes on Brian Mitchell (3-0) for the vacant V3 Fights amateur 155-pound championship on Saturday in Tunica, Miss.
“I’ll just go out there and do my thing,” Payne said of facing Mitchell. “I don’t really have a game plan. I make sure I train in all areas. I can fight anywhere. I go off my opponent’s reaction. I make them react, and just go with the flow.”
Should he come out of his bout against Mitchell unscathed, Payne will look to get back into competition quickly and close out his year on a high note.
“I’m going to take the belt in this fight, and if I’m good and not injured, I’m fighting next month to defend this title,” said Payne. “After that I will probably take a little time off for the holidays, but I’ll still always be in shape, working out and stuff like that.
“Whatever fights that come up, I’m probably going to take it, but I’m going to make sure that I’m prepared for it. I’m not going to rush things, but I’ll take a fight. I like to challenge myself, and whatever happens, happens.”