It hasn’t been easy finding someone to fight Patrick Cummins, according to manager Ryan Parsons.
Now, though, Cummins is set for a light heavyweight bout against Daniel Cormier on Feb. 22 at UFC 170. Ahead of the matchup, Parsons joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss Cummins’ reputation and more.
On trying to find Cummins an opponent: “It’s been the biggest challenge of my career, bar none. It’s been beyond frustrating. I think some of it’s the MMA landscape, but we got a great start with you guys, with the EA Sports MMA exchange, and then his first fight was in Strikeforce. There were 10,000 people at that fight. He did real well on it, and then after that, with each successive win, it got more and more difficult to find opponents for him.”
On why it’s been a struggle: “I think that’s for a couple of reasons. First off there’s just not that many 205-pounders out there. It’s a real weak division internationally and nationally. The guys that are out there, when they look Pat up, they just don’t want to face a guy with his wrestling credentials. To compound on top of that, he’s got a real gym reputation as being a legitimate tough guy. He’s trained with a lot of top fighters. Word spreads quickly in this business. If somebody’s good, it’s not that difficult to find out. As a result, I had 50 opponents over that time say no to him.”
On whether Cummins considered a move to heavyweight: “We weren’t picky. We were willing to fight anybody at any weight at anytime. So yeah, we had discussions, and really it came down to not just finding -- first it was finding quality opponents and then it was OK, let’s find opponents with winning records, and then it was, let’s find any opponent anywhere. They just weren’t there.”
On whether Cummins would be better now if he’d fought more: “For sure. Competition is essential to move an athlete forward. It’s very, very important to compete. That’s why I like working with wrestlers like Pat so much is they come into MMA with lots and lots of competition experience. In that sense he has it from his wrestling background, but of course, in an ideal world he would have fought successively more and more challenging guys and got to 7-0, 8-0, 9-0 and then made his run into the UFC. But in this business, opportunity knocks and you’ve got to open the door and kick it down and come through when it’s presented to you.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 32:42).