Sherk Back in 155-Pound Title Picture With Big Win at UFC 119

By Mike Whitman Sep 25, 2010
It’s been a long road back, but Sean Sherk finally got his hand raised again at UFC 119.

After 16 months on the shelf following his unanimous decision loss to current UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, Sherk walked into Conseco Fieldhouse and took a hard-fought split decision from undefeated young gun Evan Dunham in Indianapolis.

“I felt phenomenal. I’ve been injured over last couple of years. It’s taken its toll in my training and my game plan. I got healed up mentally and physically. This is a rough sport, and if you train hard, there’s the possibility you will get hurt,” said Sherk.

“The Muscle Shark” received no warm-up fight in Dunham. The two went toe-to-toe for 15 action-packed minutes, winning “Fight of the Night” honors.

“I’m a competitor, and I like to step up to challenges. I want to beat the best guys out there,” Sherk said.

Sherk was also complimentary of Dunham after the fight.

“I told him, ‘I could see you being champion some day,’” said Sherk.

As for Dunham, he’s taking his first professional defeat like a veteran.

“It’s bittersweet -- more bitter than sweet. You learn more from a loss, and I think there’s a lot to take away from this, but I’m definitely not happy,” said Dunham.

When asked about his strategy against the former lightweight kingpin, the native Oregonian admitted he made some mistakes.

“I have to look at the video, but I didn’t implement my game in the first round,” said the Xtreme Couture product. “There are some things I want to change up. I’m not going to make excuses. I wanted to stand with him and stuff the shot and frustrate him.”

But in the early going, Dunham could not stop Sherk’s relentless takedown attack. This marked a departure from several of Sherk’s recent fights, wherein he seemed content to stand with his opponent and ignore his world-class wrestling despite a reach disadvantage. UFC 119 served as the return of the Sherk of old. His double-legs were fierce, his top control smothering.

“I think I got complacent when he was on top of me,” said Dunham. “I found myself thinking, ‘Why are you down here? Get up.’ I took some shots before I made that decision.”
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