Lentz Hopes to Prove His Worth to UFC Against Dunham

By Sherdog.com Staff Jan 27, 2012
Even though his loss to Mark Bocek last month was his first in eight UFC bouts, Nik Lentz believes he could have been cut afterward.

“I don’t know for sure, but I think there was definitely a chance that I could have got cut after my last fight,” Lentz told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “After the last fight I could have got cut. That’s why I want to get back in there right away, just to prove that I’m definitely someone worth keeping around.”

Despite his success, Lentz isn’t seen as an especially entertaining fighter. He typically uses a grinding, top-control style that wins fights but not necessarily fans. Against Bocek, though, he abandoned that approach and dropped a unanimous decision.

“People demanded that I change my style of fighting,” Lentz said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Hey Nick, let’s keep that wrestling game going.’ After the Andre Winner fight, people wanted me to like die and stuff.”

Lentz believes he should have had the chance to gain more experience before being expected to finish top-notch competition. He was outwrestling opponents, but that wasn’t good enough and eventually the pressure to do more got to him.

“From the fans and everyone, it was pretty much, ‘Hey, you need to change the way you fight.’ So right after that [Winner] fight, I changed the way I fought,” Lentz said. “There’s obviously some growing pains with it. I kind of got a little too far away from the wrestling [against Bocek]. I was trying to strike and then he was shooting like these ugly shots, but he only wanted to wrestle. Right when he grabbed my legs, I should have just went right into wrestling mode, stopped the shot, got it back to the feet and then beat him up on the feet again.”

It was a tough loss, and two days later Lentz was right back in the gym. He wanted another fight soon, and he’ll get it Jan. 28 when he meets Evan Dunham at UFC on Fox 2.

“I’m going to take a short-notice fight against a [fighter] who was considered once one of the best people in the world,” Lentz said, “and when I beat him, I hope people notice.”

Beating Dunham would certainly be a quality win. Lentz has studied footage of him and talked with teammate Sean Sherk, who outpointed Dunham in September 2010. If Dunham has also been watching footage, Lentz thinks he could be making a mistake.

“He could have watched the last fight and thought I was susceptible to the takedown, which I’m really not,” Lentz said. “I just made a mistake in not really focusing on my wrestling much, which I fixed. I don’t know, nor do I really care, what he’s going to do because I have exactly planned out how I’m going to beat him, and I will beat him on the 28th.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:31:25).


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