@brownbearC: Fine Tuning For UFC 250 #mma @MataLeonMGMTTweet
Check out the YouTube Interview between Devin Clark and I. Feel free to subscribe if you enjoy!
If podcasts are your thing, the same interview is available on Spotify and everywhere else you listen to podcasts.
UFC 250 is around the corner and Devin Clark takes on Contender Series vet, Alonzo Menifield. Clark is getting ready for his fight and looks to notch his 12th career win, fifth in the octagon.
His camp is going great. According to Clark, he is in incredible shape despite the fight being a short notice fight. “It’s going great,” says Clark. “It’s been a really good camp. We’re in really good shape even though it’s been a short camp. I’m excited and ready to go.”
Devin Clark And The Journey To The UFC
His start in mixed martial arts came by way of wrestling. He wrestled from a young age. He attended Rochester Community and Technical college where he won a national championship.
“I was a wrestler for a long time. I started wrestling when I was seven years old. And then ended up wrestling in junior college, went to junior college national championship. I didn’t finish college, being a young kid not making the right decisions. I finished college and ended up working construction. I also wanted to, be an athlete. So I started at a gym that my dad’s friend had, it was really just a room in the back of the workout center. And we would pretty much just spar every day. And so that’s that’s kind of how I got started and found out I was decent at it, mostly because of my wrestling.”
Clark got his call to the UFC in 2016. While it was an exciting moment for him, he still felt like he had a bunch to prove in the promotion. He was undefeated at the time and suffered his first setback against now-PFL contender, Alex Nicholson. While it gave him a hard time mentally, he put his mind to it and continued to improve as a fighter.
“It was cool but I knew I still had a lot to prove. It was exciting but at the same time it’s a little underwhelming. I felt like okay I made it to the UFC it’s one thing to make it to make it to and then stay there and be successful there. So that was my goal; to be become champion. It still is, but obviously I’ve had some some setbacks and that messes with the mental mentality a little bit. My debut, I got knocked out. I went from, winning the fight, then losing focus, and then bam, that guy knocks you out. So that kind of changed what I had in mind and what I had envisioned. I’m like, ‘Oh shit, I’m not supposed to lose.’ I wasn’t used to losing. I was undefeated fighter and I planned on being and staying undefeated my whole life. I had to overcome that and adjust and build back.”
Devin Clark rattled two wins off after that and stakes his claim in the light heavyweight division. And he still feels like he is improving. Looking forward to the fight ahead, Clark believes the best is yet to come. But Clark will admit, it’s been an exciting time to be a professional fighter. He says with the world’s circumstances, he feels like he is in the right place.
“I feel like this will be my best performance. My mind’s a little different right now. Partially because of the circumstances of the COVID stuff and everything that’s going on in the world right now. It’s a crazy time. And it’s also an exciting time to be a fighter. We are the only sport on TV right now. Dana was the only one brave enough to continue and do this during this time. So I am definitely thankful for that just because of that dangerous aspect. It makes it so much more exciting.”
Training for UFC 250
The COVID-19 virus really put a strain on a lot of fighters and their training. Clark says he didn’t get the length of camp that he normally enjoys, but he says everyone has the same difficulty finding training times.
“It was similar to everybody else, it’s definitely slowed it down. I didn’t get to camp when I wanted to. Usually I have like a 16 week camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This time it’s I’ve been in Albuquerque three weeks, so it’d be a three week camp in Albuquerque. And when I was back home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it was mainly strength and conditioning, a little bit of bag work stuff like that training with my daughter. She’s six years old, so everything I did, she was on my back. As a fighter, you do what you have to do and you’re going to show up to fight no matter what. If you sign a contract, you’re going to fight.”
Clark trains at JacksonWink in New Mexico. The level of training partners there is on a different level from other camps, as we’ve talked about with Steve Garcia. Clark knows what he has and is incredibly thankful to have such great MMA minds at his disposal to learn from.
“It’s huge, actually training with the best fighter in the world, the pound for pound GOAT, Jon Jones. I’ve tried to use him kind of as a mentor. He says something and I listen to him. Why wouldn’t? You’d be stupid not to, it’s just the way a guy like that thinks in terms of fighting is totally, totally different and I’ve learned so much from him and as well as the coaches, Mike Winklejohn, Greg Jackson, Chad Smith, and all the fighters Holly Holm, Carlos Condit. So having that aspect is a real one up, but at the same time, it’s a lot to take in. So like, ‘Oh, I want to do this,’ but some of this stuff just doesn’t fit my style. And I’ve had to adjust and kind of filter filter through some of the things that I’ve learned.”
Training Under COVID-19 Restrictions
Training under COVID restrictions have put a kink in Devin Clark’s preparation for UFC 250. But he sees this as an advantage to improve on the smaller and more technical things.
“It’s just been a little different. We’ve had to adjust because of COVID. So smaller groups and we haven’t really sparred much, which is fine with me. So I’ve been focusing a lot more on the little things, little skill work fundamentals, and I think this has been one of my best camps. I’m in great shape. I’ve been able to work on just being a better athlete as well because of the not as many group sessions and stuff like that.”
The UFC has been holding crowdless events. From UFC Brasilia to the most recent UFC Vegas event, there has been no audience to watch the fights go down. For Devin Clark, it is no big deal. He sees the benefits with being able to clearly hear his corner. But he also knows with Menifield, it is going to be the same type of fight.
“I really don’t care, man. Menifield is just going to try to come knock my head off anyway, so if having a crowd would be an issue, I’d be in big trouble. It definitely adds an aspect though, you can hear the coaches better and hear his coaches better. You can hear the commentators and there’s no feedback from the crowd. I disregard the crowd most time anyways and I’ve led the night off plenty of times where there’s not a whole lot of fans in in the crowd. I know he used that to use on the Contender Series, so it’s going be a fight.”