Nearly fight time. We had the big press conference yesterday in the lobby of the MGM Grand. There were a ton of fans there too.
I don’t really feel any extra pressure. The actual belt is just a belt, but what it means is you’re the best, the top of the heap. By beating BJ Penn twice, Frank Edgar has shown that he’s the best guy in the world. He had his chance to prove that and he took that chance. But he’s only human; I beat him before and now it’s my turn on Saturday night to prove that I am the best.
That’s the whole goal from day one. It’s not like I’m trying to do this for the cash or the belt; it’s just the chance to compete and be on top of the world in something I love doing. That’s the whole goal for me.
I’m a guy who motivates myself. I motivated myself to be the best when I was in wrestling;
There was no money in wrestling so why you trained your ass off was to prove you are the best. I think this mentality will help me in my entire career. If you fight for money, eventually you have enough money to where you don’t really want to go to the gym and get beat up twice a day. If you fight for the belt, what happens if you don’t get the chance to fight for the belt for some reason or something happens in your career where you don’t have the belt?
For me, I train to be the best in what I do. Always. This is a career for me; winning a belt on one night will be great, but beating everyone in the UFC, proving it over and over, that’s my ultimate goal.
I’ve trained for five very hard rounds. I always train for that, title fight or no title fight. Edgar has the experience of going five rounds in his last two fights, and he’s made other improvements since our last fight, but ultimately, as an athlete and a competitor, I just believe in myself. I know whatever happens, I’m not going to break mentally, I’m not going to back down - that’s never happened to me in over 100 competitive matches or fights in MMA.
But I don’t think this fight will go five rounds.
I’d love to knock opponents out. I had a 9 second KO (over Joe Veres) in one of my first UFC fights in 2007. I loved the feeling and want to do it again, especially in such a big fight as this weekend’s.
In the gym, I can’t wait to hit the bags, to spar and work on my body. I just love striking. No disrespect, just business, I want to knock Frank Edgar out cold. Standing with him and exchanging with him in the center of the Octagon would be a great late Christmas gift to the fans and that’s what I want to do. I think Frankie is going to want to trade with me more, try to avoid going to the ground, try to use his good upper body movement on the feet and jab and move.
I am still a work in progress, but that work in progress has gotten me to 11-0 and a shot at the biggest title in the whole sport. But I am working very, very hard, every day, to get better and give the fans something special on New Year’s Day.
For more information on Gray, visit www.graymaynard.com
Read Part One
Read Part Two
Gray Maynard was talking with Ant Evans
Gray Matters - Part Three
Gray Maynard - Number one lightweight contender December 30, 2010
Read below for the final installment of number one lightweight contender Gray Maynard's UFC 125 blog