Brad Pickett got a little emotional following his split-decision triumph over Francisco Rivera at UFC Fight Night London on Saturday.
After taking some time to collect himself, “One Punch” revealed the reason for his post-fight reaction. As it turned out, his livelihood could have been hanging in the balance, with the judges’ scorecards determining whether he would fight another day — or hang it up for good.
“I’m emotional; I’m all over the place. Walking out there was great, but walking back was better. I don’t do this sport just to make up the numbers. I want to be someone within the sport, and if I felt I couldn’t compete, not just compete at the level, but win at this level, then I would hang my gloves up tonight,” Pickett said. “So I’m happy I got the win.”
The Englishman was fortunate to survive a frenetic first stanza in which he and Rivera traded punches in the pocket for the majority of the round. While Rivera appeared to hurt his foe on a couple of occasions, Pickett managed to survive until the bell. The pace slowed from there, and while Pickett never seized a definitive advantage, he did enough in the eyes of two of the three judges scoring cageside.
It wasn’t a critically acclaimed ruling — the majority of media thought Rivera won, according to MMADecisions.com — but it was enough to make sure Pickett returns to the Octagon at least once more.
The victory also ended a three-fight skid for Pickett, who recently returned to bantamweight after a brief stint at 125 pounds.
“I had a lot of pressure going into this fight. I had a lot of demons,” he said. “And no matter who I was facing – it could have been the No. 1 in the world or some guy on the street —I had a lot of inner demons that I was fighting, and I am so happy to come away with the win.”