UFC bantamweight Marcus Brimage (6-3) headed into his fight with Russell Doane (14-4) this past July at UFC 175 over a year having passed since his previous bout. Following a tough loss to Conor McGregor at featherweight in 2013, Brimage was hit by a number of serious injuries that required a great deal of rest and rehabilitation.
As such, everyone around Brimage warned him that there would be a perhaps painful adjustment period in his first fight back, due to what is known as “ring rust.”
“Everyone told me that I’d have rust, and I was like, ‘whatever,’” Brimage tells Cagewriter.
“Truth be told, everything felt good until I got into the cage. In the cage, that’s when the ring rust happened. This cant take anything away from Russell because he came to fight, and he sure did fight. I just felt off until the third round. It was like an out of body experience. I was not in the moment. In the third round, that’s when I woke up and did what I normally do.”
It was too little, too late for “The Bama Beast,” and he lost a close split decision. Brimage says that he was shocked to hear from his teammates, friends and even anonymous fans in Las Vegas later that night that they thought he deserved to win the decision against Doane.Â
“Everyone seemed to be impressed but I told them, ‘get the [expletive] out of here. I lost,’” Brimage remembers.
Once the fighter watched the bout himself, however, he began to realize that he didn’t fight nearly as poorly as he thought he had. In fact, he began to agree with those who said he deserved to get the nod from the judges.
“When I actually looked at the fight, I thought I got robbed,” he says.
“I don’t know what the judges were looking at. They made Stevie wonder what was going on. After I started to think about it more, I got super cronk and angry. Like, ‘man, I felt off like a mother [expletive], and that’s how I looked when I felt off? Oh my God, I am going to do some damage once I get back.’”
Brimage has turned that frustration into motivation and confidence as he heads into a Nov. 8 showdown against Jumabieke Tuerxun (14-2) in Sydney, Australia. Brimage was compelled to train at home in Alabama during this camp instead of South Florida at his usual American Top Team because of family issues.
One might assume that, without his usual top-notch ATT destination training camp, and coming off of two-straight losses would make Brimage feel a great deal of pressure. In actuality, he says he feels less pressure than he did against Doane in his come back fight this past summer.
“To be honest with you, I feel less pressure,” he insists.
“The reason is because, I’m ‘on.’ I got that first one out of the way. I could not walk down the street in Vegas after that fight without fans telling me, ‘Brim, that was [expletive]. You won. The judges [expletive] you.’ I mean, it’s like, ‘Marcus Brimage lost to Russell Doane, said no man ever.’ [laughs] That’s just real talk.
“I had some family issues, so I had to come home for training camp. I’m back in Alabama, and I’m back to my roots. I cannot wait to give this guy a Southern fried ass whooping.”Â
Check back here at Cagewriter for more with Marcus as we check in with him later in his training camp.
Follow Elias on Twitter @EliasCepeda & @YahooCagewriterÂ
Yoshihiro AkiyamaÂ Gilbert AldanaÂ JosÃ© AldoÂ John AlessioÂ Houston Alexander