After a dominant third round against Demetrious Johnson in their March 3 UFC flyweight tournament bout, Ian McCall believes he has the psychological edge heading into the rematch Friday.
“I definitely think so,” McCall told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I’ve heard some interviews, the way he talks about everything. I think I’m definitely inside of his head.”
In McCall’s view, he was close to finishing the fight in that third round. He slammed Johnson, controlled positioning and also scored with strikes. However, Johnson also had his moments in the first and second rounds. Due to an error counting the judges’ scorecards, the fight was scored a majority draw instead of going to a “sudden victory” fourth round.
For all intents and purposes, though, the fourth round comes Friday at UFC on FX 3. The wait has been long enough for McCall.
“I just want to get it over with,” he said. “I want to move on with this chapter in my life, put a stamp on it and then fight [Joseph Benavidez] for the title.”
Looking back at the first encounter, McCall is far from satisfied with his performance. He blames his showing on a lack of focus.
“I wasn’t nervous or anything,” McCall said. “It was just some personal things going on. That’s the worst thing for me, is my personal life gets in the way. … I don’t focus on things. I shouldn’t let stuff like that affect me.”
McCall wouldn’t go into specifics, but he seems to have resolved whatever issues hampered him in March. As for Johnson, he’s not expecting anything new from his opponent.
“I think he’s shown me everything he has to offer,” McCall said. “I don’t really see him doing anything different.”
McCall, on the other hand, plans to be much better on the feet.
“Definitely in the standup department I looked horrible in my fight with him,” he said. “I think he’s going to see a much different side of me, much more focused. It’s not going to make it any better for him.”
The plan, in short, is for McCall to do exactly what he did in the third round of their first fight.
“I have to just beat him up,” McCall said. “I don’t have to make it too pretty. I have to just physically grab a hold of him, and the fight’s mine. … Just be more aggressive and get my hands on him. I think we all know I’m the better wrestler, better at jiu-jitsu and I’m a lot bigger. I hit a lot harder. So just kind of rough him up. Like I said, it doesn’t need to be that pretty. I’ve just got to beat the crap out of him.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:38:12).