Having missed most of 2019, middleweight Romero Cotton was looking to have a better year in 2020 when the novel coronavirus ended up placing him on the shelf for most of the year again.
Throughout it all Cotton remained as patient as he could, and finally following over a year since his last fight he’ll be able to step in the cage again soon to fight.
“It’s been crazy,” Cotton told MMAWeekly.com. “When this whole pandemic stuff hit I was at the Mohegan Sun (for Bellator 241) getting ready to fight. March 14, the same day everybody’s life changed, we had to jump on a plane, get back home, and had no clue when we’d be fighting again.
“They told me it would be soon, and it looked like July, then the pandemic kept going. Other fighters on the roster need to get paid and feed their families too, so now it’s just our turn, and we’re ready to go.”
During the past year Cotton has taken every opportunity to train, and he believes he’ll be an improved fighter the next time he steps into the cage compared to the last time.
“I’m still early in my career so every day that I’m able to get in the gym with my coach I’m able to thrive and grow,” said Cotton. “I’ve been eating well. I’ve been making sure my cardio is good. I’ve definitely grown a lot as a fighter in eight months in general. Because of the pandemic I’ve been able to work on my game.”
On Thursday in Uncasville, Conn., Cotton (4-0) puts his undefeated record on the line when he takes on Justin Sumter (7-3) in a Bellator 254 middleweight preliminary bout.
“I’ve got to be myself,” Cotton said. “I’ve grown a lot as a fighter and a competitor. I’ve got to do my thing. I’ve got to go out and be mean. I’ve got to get my hands on (Sumter). I’ve got to throw my ones and twos. I’ve got to be myself.
“He’s a competitor and has been in this game a long time – he was doing this back when I was in high school – he’s a savvy vet and he’s going to come out to fight, and I’m going to have to fight him.”
With the last two years having only produced one fight so far for Cotton, he’s not going to begin putting stock into 2021 until after his bout with Sumter is over.
“We’ve just got to focus on this fight,” said Cotton. “We’ve had this fight twice and it’s been off twice. We’ve just got to make sure we get there and get in the cage. I’m not even at all thinking about 2021, but if we can get into the cage this (fight) then 2021 is going to be a big year for me.”