After suffering the only loss of his career to date in 2013, lightweight up-and-comer Zach Freeman was able to rebound over a year and a half later with a victory over Zac Kelley in 2015. As things would have it, he would once again be forced on an extended hiatus for the second time in as many fights.
As Freeman explains, his absence from fighting wasn’t so much that he wanted the time off, but circumstances kept him out of the cage, though he was busy in the gym the entire time.
“I’ve had some delays just due to health issues,” Freeman told MMAWeekly.com. “I had to get surgery last year after the Zac Kelley fight. That pretty much set me back six months.
“I then took a fight with Titan (for December), and they cancelled on us the week of the fight. So it’s not been as long of a layoff as it appears. I’ve been training since August for a fight; just the right opportunity hasn’t come up.”
Having spent over a year in the gym, Freeman feels that while he’s grown, it’s not so much the additions to his game, but more so his preparedness that comes from his training that matters.
“I think we’re all human, and at a certain point you have capabilities, and that’s just it,” he said. “I know my capabilities, and I really think it’s about being conditioned for your fight, as well as being mentally prepared for a fight.”
Freeman (8-1) will have his first fight back in a year when he steps into the RFA Octagon for the first time to take on Thiago Moises (8-1) for the company’s 155-pound championship in the main event of Friday’s event in St. Charles, Mo.
“We’re very similar,” said Freeman of Moises. “We’re both good everywhere. Our strongest point is jiu-jitsu. I think he’s got youth on his side, but I do believe he’s a little smaller, so I have size on my side. So at the end, I think everything kind of evens out.”
Winning a title in the RFA over a touted prospect like Moises could be a very big springboard for Freeman, and while he has a mind to where it could lead him; his focus is set on Friday night and getting that win first.
“I’m going to take one thing at a time,” Freeman said. “I could very well be the first Legacy Fighting Alliance champion. I could very well get pulled up to the UFC. I could very well catch a knee injury in the fight that’s career-ending.
“I try to envision my future, but right now my goal is to fight Thiago and get the win, and do it impressively to where the UFC wants me. It’s a huge opportunity, and it doesn’t come by everybody, so I’m going to make the most of it.”