Though he was scheduled for three bouts in 2016, bantamweight veteran Steven Peterson was only able to get in one fight last year.
In the fight he was able to have, Peterson was able to capture the Legacy FC 135-pound championship from Manny Vazquez in June via fourth-round submission.
“My fight with Manny went pretty much as expected,” Peterson told MMAWeekly.com. “I knew he was going to be really tough and I knew I was going to have to grind it out and take it into deep water.
“As the fight went on, he started to fade. A lot of guys can’t handle that pressure for more than three rounds, so in the later rounds he folded, as I expected.”
While Peterson did have that very big positive in his year, his last scheduled fight in October fell through when opponent Mark De La Rosa failed to show up for the fight after weigh-ins.
“I had trouble making weight,” said Peterson. “As the weight cut went on, I just got sicker and sicker. It was a miserable camp. But I pulled through, and I showed up to fight, and it was just a cowardly move by Mark.
“It’s sad there are no repercussions for doing that. It was a letdown for my fans and his fans, and it was a letdown for Legacy.”
On January 13 in Dallas, Texas, Peterson (14-4) will look to unite his Legacy FC championship with the RFA title held by Leandro Higo (16-2) to form the first Legacy Fighting Alliance 135-pound title in the main event of LFA 1.
“Leandro is a very tough opponent,” Peterson said. “He probably has the best record of anybody I’ve fought. He’s got a better record than some of the UFC champs.
“I don’t know if he’s the toughest, but he’s a very game opponent. I feel like a win in this fight and it will establish me as one of the top in my division.”
While being crowned the inaugural LFA bantamweight champion would be a big feather in Peterson’s cap, it’s not the only goal he has for himself this year.
“I’m going to win this fight and then I’m going to move on,” he said. “I want to get my UFC debut under my belt and then work my way up the ranks, and then hopefully crack the Top 10 by the end of the year.”