Frank Camacho poses during Fight Night Singapore weigh-ins" align="center" />
After taking a short notice bout with Jingliang Li that earned him a Fight of the Night bonus but not a victory in his UFC debut, the normally upbeat and positive Frank Camacho was in the dumps as he left Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“I got on the bus with my coach and I was so bummed, wondering where I go from here,” he said. But soon, there would be good news in the form of the aforementioned Fight of the Night award, and it brightened his mood – not just for the extra money in his pocket, but for something more important to him.
“The bonus was cool, but the first thing that clicked in my mind was, wow, the UFC and everyone watching appreciated the passion and heart that I've been putting into this game.”
It’s been over 12 years of blood, sweat and tears for the 28-year-old representative of the Northern Mariana Islands, and while there have been close calls for him, it wasn’t until Jonathan Meunier was withdrawn from the June card in Singapore that he got the call to the Octagon. And while there wasn’t a lot of time to sit back and smell the roses, Camacho did try to embrace all that he could before his debut.
Camacho featured in Sydney's Three Fighters On the Rise
“I remember getting on the plane, on my way to Singapore, and I was talking to my coach, saying, 'We're on our way to a UFC,’” he said. “The whole week I was scrambling to medicals and doing paperwork and the next thing you know, we're on a flight, then we're weighing in and then walking down to the cage. I remember watching the fight again and I was walking to the cage and really just embracing it. Unfortunately, I didn't get the win but if there's one thing I did do, it was have a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.”
Going three hard rounds with a dangerous opponent like Li, who did a number on Camacho’s legs, may sound like an odd way to have fun, and “Frank the Crank” is probably in for another grueling battle this weekend in Sydney against Damien Brown. But as he explains, fighting past your limits and through adversity is what makes this all worth it for him.
“For me as a martial artist, I love adversity, I love getting pushed to that limit, and I love those battles where you have to dig down and you have to get up when you can't get up.”
So is “Beatdown” Brown going to give him a fight like that? Camacho hopes so.
“When I got the call from my manager, asking if I wanted to take the fight with Brown, I said, 'Where do I sign?'” he laughs. “Stylistically, it's a matchup that I personally like, and I think it's going to turn into something that the fans will enjoy. I've been through my wars, Brown's been through his wars, but once the leather starts flying, you never know what's really gonna happen. It's a fight, and I'm super stoked to share the cage with Damien.”
And if he gets another bonus, the avid golfer may just buy a new set of clubs, something he didn’t do after his June bout, which saw him instead pick up some camera gear.
“I'm such a nerd when it comes to that stuff,” he laughs, and his enthusiasm for the stuff that most of his peers dread on fight week hasn’t waned either. Given his personality, it probably never will.
“I visualized myself signing those posters on arrival,” Camacho said of his first UFC fight week. “And it was so funny because when I started signing, the first one took so long, and I had to find my groove because there was a huge stack to get through. And the whole weigh-in process and the fight, I always visualized that. I feel that it's going to be getting better and better, and I'm super excited for the future.”