When he first set his mind towards 2020, middleweight Zak Cummings was eager to rebound from his defeat to Omari Akhmedov at UFC 242, but unfortunately his first bout of the year would have to wait.
Following failed negotiations for a proposed match-up early in the year, Cummings’ return to the octagon was further delayed by the novel coronavirus.
“With my last fight being towards the end of the year and coming up a little short I kind of was dead set on getting back in the cage as soon as I could get back and get in the win column and everything,” Cummings told MMAWeekly.com.
“I was wanting to fight in January, but I had issues with an opponent they wanted not taking the fight, so it got pushed to April. That’s kind of when the shutdown, the quarantine, all the Covid stuff started happening.”
The coronavirus lockdown forced Cummings to pull back a little bit, which in the end he feels like ended up being a positive out of what was initially a negative situation.
“We had to shut my home gym down, and kind of had to take a little break, which honestly was a little nice,” said Cummings. “The quarantine kind of forced me to slow things back down. I spent time with my family, got outdoors, and do all the outside stuff I enjoy doing.”
On Saturday in Las Vegas, Cummings (23-7) will finally have his first bout of the year when he takes on Alessio Di Chirico (12-4) in a preliminary 185-pound bout at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs. Rakic.
“The only way I see Alessio beating me is I go out there and just don’t perform how I should, how I know I can,” Cummings said. “Alessio is good. Alessio is a top level fighter. I just feel stylistically I match up very, very well with him.
“I know if I go in there and make the adjustments I need to make and do the stuff I need to do there’s no reason why I can’t go out there and get my hand raised.”
With how 2020 has gone for Cummings, he’s reluctant to look beyond August 29, though if he’s able to he would like to finish out his year with at least one more fight if possible.
“It’s so hard to look past anything,” said Cummings. “If anything works out, I get in the cage, I have an opponent and we get past him I would like to have a pretty fast turnaround. We’ll have to play it by ear and see how it goes, but one thing I’ve learned this year it’s not to plan too far ahead.”