Nik Lentz doesn’t mind fighting Brazilians in their home country.
In January he outpointed Diego Nunes in Brazil, and on Saturday he’ll be back in the country trying to beat another native in Hacran Dias at UFC on FX 8. Ahead of the matchup, Lentz joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his opponent, fighting in front of a hostile audience and more.
On Dias: “He’s super dangerous, but I don’t think that he does or possesses any talent that I don’t have.”
On whether he’s studied footage of Dias: “There was actually a lot of stuff online of his fights. We have like 10 of his fights that we went over, that I went over with all my coaches. We’ve got a very good idea of what this guy does and how he does it.”
On fighting Dias in Brazil: “It doesn’t mean anything to me. It couldn’t have been more hostile than the last time I went there. They loved Diego [Nunes] down there. Everything about it, when I was there, was about that guy. Everyone loved him. The whole crowd was 100 percent for him. In fact, it was actually kind of cool because every time he ever did anything, the crowd would just go crazy and then when it got countered, they would just all sigh. Fifteen thousand people would just go, ‘Ahhhh.’ … That kind of gave me a little extra energy.”
On how crowd support can have a negative effect on some fighters: “Lots of Brazilian fighters, when they fight in Brazil, because of the spectacle of the sport, because of how much their fans care, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. A lot of times they crack under that pressure, especially when you get in their face and show them it’s going to be a long night for them.”
On how dropping to 145 pounds changed his career: “It forced me to change things I had never needed to before. My whole life changed, everything about the way I eat, the way I train. It just kind of forced me into a situation where I had to change everything.”
On why he changed: “I had goals I wanted to accomplish, and it was very clear that I wasn’t doing what was necessary. … When I look back at my career at 155 pounds and see all the things I did wrong, when I switched over to ATT and working with Mike Dolce, I just felt horrible about myself for a couple of weeks because I’d be like, ‘This is what I do,’ and it’d be wrong. And, ‘This is how I train,’ and it was just exactly the opposite of what I was supposed to be doing. I was just naïve, I guess, when it comes to being a top contender in the world and what’s necessary. I kind of kicked myself for all of the mistakes I made, but it was kind of a learning process and I’m glad I went through it and now I’m a reborn fighter.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:47:55).