Tamdan McCrory (right) plans for a summer return to MMA. | Photo: Dave Mandel
When Tamdan McCrory was last seen in the Octagon, he was on the losing end of a split decision against John Howard at UFC 101. It was his second loss in three fights, and the fighter known as “The Barn Cat” had gone 2-3 since starting his professional mixed martial arts career with nine straight wins.
Even though McCrory, a native of Cortland, N.Y., has not fought since his loss to Howard more than a year and a half ago, he has stayed busy helping MMA develop in his home state. He operates out of CNY MMA, which he co-owns. The gym has three locations in New York: Cortland, Binghamton and Watertown.
“I’ve been spending some time running CNY MMA and doing stuff like that,” McCrory told Sherdog.com. “I’ve just been running my businesses the last two years and spending some time in the weight room getting bigger. I’ve been working on my skill sets and enjoying life a little bit.”
While helping run CNY MMA, McCrory has preparing for his competitive return to the sport. At 24, his prime years are ahead of him.
“I’m still training,” said McCrory, who has 10 finishes among his 11 professional wins. “I’ve been stepping it up lately because I’ve been in some [grappling] competitions and I’m looking for some fights over the summer. I’ve been doing a lot of skill development and building my strength. I’m going to get into fight shape going into the summer.”
Most fighters would rather not be on the sidelines for more than a year, but McCrory believes the layoff has benefited him.
“It was definitely not a bad thing,” said McCrory, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the State University of New York at Cortland. “I was overcoming injuries and dealing with personal stuff or else I would’ve fought in 2010. For the first couple of years in my career, fighting was what I wanted to do, and I did it a lot. Having that lifestyle and constantly having to train to make 170 [pounds] was tough. To be able to get away from that and be able to grow my business and take care of things personally was good.
“I wanted to fight in 2010, but I kept getting injured,” he added. “I had to rehab a lot. Every time I went to get something started and get into fight shape, a stupid injury came up and I’d be out three or four weeks. It was a tough time, but I’ve been feeling healthy and training hard the last couple of months. Now I’m getting closer to where I want be fight-wise, so I just have to step it up.”
Before McCrory takes another mixed martial arts fight, he may go to California for the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in June. McCrory said the competition would serve as a good test of his grappling skills.
“I have been doing a lot of grappling lately, and one of my coaches said I should go do [the world championships],” said McCrory. “I’ve been working a lot of gi [jiu-jitsu] lately.”
McCrory’s handlers are actively trying to find him a suitable opponent for his next fight. It was a burden he needed lifted from him.
“I’ve got some people looking for a fight,” he said. “I don’t want to deal with that stuff. I just want to know where the fight is and go do the fight. I want to stay out of management and stuff like that. My job is to fight and when my people find a good opportunity, I’ll take it.”
When McCrory does step back into MMA, it will be as a middleweight. His days at 170 pounds, he says, are over.
“I’m going to 185 now,” said McCrory. “I’m never making 170 again unless they cut off my leg. I’m 6-foot-4, and when I was at 170, I’d be walking around at 200 pounds. But now that I’ve been trying to put on some weight, I’ve been as high as 220 pounds. Now, I’m about 210. The extra 15 pounds won’t make much difference, performance-wise. I have the frame for 185.”
As McCrory prepares to return to MMA competition, he is anxious to make a mark in his new weight class.
“This really isn’t a comeback,” said McCrory. “It’s a new chapter. A lot of things have changed and improved. Now, I’m just doing it at 185. I’ve worked with a lot of guys that are bigger than me, so I’ll make the adjustment just fine. This is a good opportunity for me.”