Ian McCall's first fight in the UFC was with current featherweight champion Demetrious Johnson. It was a draw. He lost a decision in the rematch. The he lost a decision to Joseph Benavidez, who himself lost a split decision to Demetrious Johnson in the fight that determined the inaugural title. Although he is 0-2-1 in the UFC, there is only a razor-thin line between McCall and the other top fighters. Still, McCall made some major changes as he prepares to fight Iliarde Santos at UFC 163 on Aug. 3.
“I’m in a much better place," said McCall on Knockout Radio. "You know, I’ve kind of blown my UFC career so far, but now it’s time to earn what’s rightfully mine."
“I’ve always been physically ready. Every fight, I’ve always been in shape. I’ve always been there. Just for me it’s a mental thing because I can be a head case and that really has been what’s gotten me down in the past, but I took personal steps in my personal life, new relationships, new whatever it may be to just change for the better. I really am just happier and in a much better place than I can really ever remember, which is nice."
The fight vs. Iliarde will be the first prelim the FX, which McCall understands.
“I haven’t earned s---. It’s probably where I deserve to be. Some people can look at it as a slap in the face not being on the main card, but who cares who I’ve fought and where I‘ve been on previous cards? There are some big names that deserve to be there and I’m just ready to earn it. That’s my outlook on everything. I like earning things. I like being the good dog that gets petted. I want to earn this title shot and my first step to do that is by knocking this guy out.”
“Training has always been the same. I always put in the work; I bust my butt. I’m just more mentally clear. Not to say that it’s completely someone else’s fault, of course, I put myself in every situation I am in. I was in a bad relationship and any man knows that can really drag you down,” he said.
“I was dropping the ball. I wasn’t focused. I had flashes of brilliance, but that’s all done now and I’m excited to move forward and prove myself. I was brought in as No. 1. I was supposed to be something special and I haven’t really shown that yet."
“He is going to go in there and try to knock my head off, that’s for sure. I’m in his country. I am the person standing across from him. He’s fought, what 30 almost 40 fights, probably. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu, so obviously he’s dangerous just like any opponent. You have to respect everybody."
“I have to go out there and just do work. I’ve got to stop having so much fun getting punched in the face and I’ve got to punch people back.”
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