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A post shared by Patrick Durkin Cummins (@officialdurkin) on Jul 20, 2018 at 5:03pm PDT
The Monday after his August victory over Jason Butcher, the PFL’s Emiliano Sordi was back in the Alliance MMA gym, and he had to answer some questions from UFC light heavyweight contender Patrick Cummins. Well, at least one question.
“How did you end that fight in 16 seconds?” Cummins asked. “Because I need to figure out how to do this. I just do everything the hard way.”
“You never had a quick fight like that?” responded Sordi.
“No, not since my early, early fights when I wasn’t facing these tough opponents all the time.”
It’s the blessing and the curse of the 37-year-old Cummins, whose grit and tendency to engage in bloody, three-round wars has landed him in the top 15 at 205 pounds and made him a fan favorite. That’s the blessing. The curse? Fighting 15 minutes night in and night out against the best of his division can wear on you.
“A long time ago I accepted the fact that I just do things the hard way,” he said. “That’s just my style. I screw up and I’ve got to dig myself out of a hole. Whatever it is, it just seems to translate to everything I do. This is what it is now. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to say I’m getting used to it, but my expectations for a short night are not that high anymore.”
On October 27, Cummins makes the walk to the Octagon for the 12th time against Canadian standout Misha Cirkunov. Is this the night he gets to go home early in victory for the first time since he halted Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante in (of course) three rounds in August 2015?
“I’m hoping it’s this one,” he laughs. “I’m really sick and tired of getting the win but just being beat to hell and thinking, ‘Jeez, was this really worth it?’ I’m hoping that I’ll have a good easy night.”
Cummins has the ability to fulfill that wish. Then again, so does Cirkunov. And that’s been the case throughout the last several fights of the Californian’s career. There are no easy touches on a list that includes the names Antonio Carlos Junior, Ovince Saint Preux, Glover Teixeira, Rogerio Nogueira, Jan Blachowicz, Gian Villante and Corey Anderson. And while he’s coming off a decision loss to Anderson in April, back-to-back victories over Blachowicz and Villante in his previous two bouts have him optimistic that if he can start a new win streak in Moncton later this month, it could be his ticket to big things in 2019.
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“The one thing that’s nice about this crazy weight class is that it’s wide open for just about anybody in that range,” Cummins said. “You put together three decent fights and you could find yourself right in that mix of fighting for a title. I’m getting up there, I can feel it in my body when I’m training and it’s crazy when you have something in your sights and you’re in a training camp and you never have a day where you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m excited to be up and doing this.’
“But I’m doing this for one reason,” he continues. “I’m not satisfied saying, ‘Oh hey, I’m a UFC fighter.’ I’m a guy that’s top 15 and I want to be the best guy out there. I want to get that ride and take that belt. No matter how I look at it, there’s a road for me to get to that point. And as soon as I think the road might be too long, then I know it’s time to say goodbye. But I’m not there yet. I know I put together three performances that I know I’m capable of doing and I can be right where I want to be.”
Sounds simple enough, but this is Patrick Cummins. In other words, three wins will likely involve three grueling, bloody wars that encompass a total of 45 minutes of fighting. That’s a long year.
“My hopes are still up. I still think there’s a chance I could have a couple quick ones, be fresh, come back in two months and do it again.”
If anyone has earned it, it’s Cummins. And if he pulls it off, it would be a story that far surpasses the one that made up his narrative early on, of him transitioning into the UFC on short notice from a job at a coffee shop to fight Daniel Cormier. And if he’s had to take some knocks along the way, that only makes the end result even sweeter.
“It’s the way my life has gone,” Cummins said. “Just when you think you’ve got the path figured out, it takes a crazy left hand turn, you’ve got to dig yourself out and sacrifice everything because you know you can do it, and when you pull it off and get to that point, it feels way better than if the story would have just been the same ol’ ‘came from nothing, worked his way up and now here he is.’ Nah, you’ve got to take some crazy turns, fall down a cliff or two (Laughs) and dig yourself out. And even if people don’t see it that way, it will make me feel like I’ve really accomplished something incredible.”