Ian McCall has not delivered yet in the UFC, but he still has time.
Ahead of his matchup Saturday against Iliarde Santos at UFC 163, the talented flyweight joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his struggles, the changes he’s made and much more.
On his UFC career so far: “It pisses me off because it’s my own fault for being mentally not strong enough. That’s all it’s ever been with me is mental. I know that I’m gifted. I know that I can destroy, especially on the ground, anyone in the division. It’s my own fault for putting myself in bad positions, like bad relationships and hanging out with the wrong people again and doing the wrong things. Maybe I let fame get to my head. … I did it to myself and now it’s a learning process, and thank God I was able to fix it before this fight. I’m in such a good place.”
On how fame and success affected him: “It’s not like I got cocky or anything. It made me lazy. … I’m an attention whore. I like the attention. I love doing my job. I like feeding the fans. I like doing that stuff, but I’m sorry I’m not sorry. I need to be in the gym. Sometimes I just need to be like, ‘Hey, leave me alone. I’ve got to go work.’ … I’m not in this for anything else but to be champion and to try and be if not the, then one of, the greatest of all time. That’s the ultimate goal.”
On distractions and drama: “Some people, like myself, like to be miserable. Or at least I did in the past. I liked being miserable. I liked the drama. I liked all the craziness … . Sleeping with three or four new girls a week, in essence it sounds great, but I should have been spending that time training. The perks we get in this job are awesome, but it’s all for nothing if you can’t reach your ultimate goal. If you lose your job, then what have you got? It was all for nothing.”
On whether something specifically caused him to change: “There was no real pivotal moment. Just going through a divorce, it was just a toxic relationship. I’m not going to blame my ex-wife for all my problems. I’m just as [much] to blame because it’s 50-50 there, but it wasn’t working. I was out partying too much. I wasn’t eating right. I wasn’t training hard enough. I don’t have to train that hard to get in fight shape, honestly. I can get into fight shape easily, but for me to get in the fight shape that I want to be in, I need to do everything. I have to eat right and just do everything properly. I need structure.”
On his losses to Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez: “I know that I’m better than Demetrious. I know I’m better than Joe. I know I’m better than all these guys, but they’ve been performing better mentally in this game. We’re all amazing athletes. We’re all good at what we do. That’s why we’re here, but at this level, it’s all mental and I’ve been a mental midget since probably I got to the UFC. I’ve never been able to mentally perform.”
On changing: “I’ve been doing this for what, 11 years now professionally, and I’m kind of starting over. I’m starting over mentally. I’m excited. I haven’t shown how good I am in the UFC yet.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:03:20).