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Reinvented Hugh Pulley promises to entertain at CFFC 106: 'Y'all going to see Hugh, 2022, all brand new'


Hugh Pulley can't contain his excitement when he starts to talk about his return to the cage after more than two years away.

"The Wolverine" has done some deep soul searching since he last competed, and he believes the changes made as a result have made him a completely different animal.

"I'm looking at Hugh, 2022, all new baby – let's go!" Pulley exclaimed. "All new, man. That 8-4 record was just me on heart. I didn't have no technique or anything, man. I'm just looking at all my videos and stuff like that. I didn't have nothing of what I have now, so the understanding of the game in which I have now, I'm more confident and more secure."

Pulley made his professional debut in 2013, and he picked up some notable wins over big-show veterans like Grant Dawson, Demarques Jackson and Jason Witt. But after a 2019 clash on the Florida regional scene that was dubbed a no contest after an accidental eye poke, Pulley had a revelation.

"I saw a lot of things in my last fight," Pulley said. "I didn't feel right, and I feel like that was just a blessing in disguise because I was just like, 'If I'm supposed to be at this next level, why do I feel like this during every fight?

"Everybody's like, 'Oh, you didn't lose, even if you didn't win.' I was just like, yeah, but in my mind, I lost, so as a fighter, you know, I took a step back, and I felt like I missed something. What I did was I started my jiu-jitsu again. I started my standup again, and then after that, man, that thing that I didn't see before, it was plain to see: I wasn't prepared."

So for the past two years, Pulley has been rebuilding his game from the ground up, realizing what it takes to compete at the sport's highest level. After the humbling process, he believes he's ready to show off his updated game and see what he can truly accomplish in the sport.

On Thursday, Pulley (8-4) returns to action in a big way, facing the undefeated Eric Alequin (6-0) in the co-main event of CFFC 106 for the promotion's vacant welterweight title. The action streams live on UFC Fight Pass from Florida's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

Pulley says he's got great respect for his opponent heading into the matchup but is confident in his own reformed skillset.

"Eric Alequin – black belt, really good striking, 6-0," Pulley said. "I know a couple of guys that are familiar with him, but man, I'm just going to go out there and just display my skills, do the thing God wanted me to do, bro. It's a lot easier just saying I'm going to go out there and do what God planned for me to do."

If God's plan includes a Pulley victory, his career could move forward rather quickly. After all, CFFC champs generally get snatched up by the sport's biggest promotions rather quickly. But part of Pulley's new focus includes only staying present in the moment rather than looking ahead.

"With all due respect, I don't even know what comes next," Pulley said. "I try not to look past that point. I'm trying to look at Eric Alequin. This is the dude that's going to be in my way.

"I've been a critic of myself. I usually have too much pride for myself, and I usually look past opponents. This dude, he's a black belt, so his discipline is what I'm looking at. It's different. The game has changed, and it's his discipline is what I'm looking at. I'm planning on nullifying his discipline and applying my attacking, my defense."

Pulley said his new mindset compliments his new skills, and the total package is going to be on display Thursday night after a lengthy time away from the cage. Whatever the result, Pulley said it's not something you're going to want to miss.

"Let's just say that y'all are going to be entertained," Pulley said. "Y'all going to see Hugh, 2022, all brand new. That's all you're gonna see.

"Look, I'm not in the hype game business, but I can tell you I've been working my ass off for this fight. Straight up. I've been working my ass off to go five rounds, bro. I'm ready, man. I don't care if it goes one or five. I'm putting 100 percent effort into every last punch, kick, takedown, whatever, man. I'm excited about this."

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