My opponent and I used to train together at coach Greg Jackson’s gym here in Albuquerque, N.M.; we were training partners and friends. Now we are going to fight for the UFC world title in Atlanta next month.
My opponent believes he "has my number" because of the time we spent training. While he is obviously familiar with how I fight, I am familiar with him too, and we didn't spend that much time training together. If you added up all the days we worked out together or sparred, we probably only trained together for a month. That's a ton of time to observe someone, but it's not like we spent years training with each other.
And I’ve learned more in this past year after my opponent left the gym than in any other year in my career. A year ago I was preparing to meet another young contender – Ryan Bader – then I was offered the title shot on six weeks’ notice against Shogun Rua. Since then, I have defended the belt against Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida, two legends in the UFC.
To do all that, I had to grow so much as a fighter and my opponent isn't thinking it through if he believes I am the same fighter I was even 12 months ago.
You’ve seen it in other sports, when a young guy comes on the scene and does well, people get excited and start writing and saying "this guy can’t be beat.” There’s a lot of hype about me right now; some media experts are saying I am unbeatable, but I know it's not true. I wouldn't bust my tail so hard in the gym if I was unbeatable.
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