“I feel like I belong here now. Obviously, you come off the reality show and you feel like you’re here because of the reality show. You have to prove yourself. I think I've done that."
Imagine that the UFC Store found a way to bottle the experience of being a UFC fighter for fans. What would be the essential ingredients for this formula?
To start, a heavily accomplished background in one particular martial art. Then get brought in to help train a current MMA fighter in that original discipline, and from there the curiosity of trying MMA for oneself is born. Compile a string of victories in local shows, which catches the eye of the UFC brass for their reality TV show. Fight through ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house and becoming an instantly recognizable name to the UFC fans. Get a contract with the UFC. Finally, taste both victory and defeat in the Octagon as a UFC fighter.
Just consider it “Eau de Dollaway”.
At 27 years old, Clarence Byron “C.B.” Dollaway is an All-American wrestler from Arizona State University who transitioned into MMA by helping train his friend and ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ alumnus Jesse Forbes for his fight with Matt Hamill. Since that time, Dollaway has amassed an 11-3 professional record and was a finalist on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Dollaway is now preparing for two big challenges: starting his own gym and his next fight on September 25th at UFC 119.
“I switched camps after the Goran [Reljic] fight in Australia about six months ago. Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson, Jesse Forbes, and I, who all train together, are opening our own gym. We're in the process of doing that. You can't really start your own while you’re at another gym, so we had to leave. The new gym will be called Power MMA & Fitness.”
Besides going into business for himself, he is taking on the cagey Canadian veteran Joe Doerksen. “El Dirte” is riding high on a seven fight win streak, including a rear naked choke victory over, the then mustached, Tom Lawlor. Doerksen is an interesting test for any middleweight, with an epic amount of fights under his belt (58, 46-12) and, by far, the majority of them have ended in a submission win for him (33).
“He is a great matchup and a very experienced fighter. He has fought a lot of the top names over the years. He has hung in there with a lot of tough guys and went to decisions with some of them, which means that he is not going to be an easy guy to finish. I’m expecting a tough fight. I’m training for a tough fight. I'm going to need everything I've been working on to defeat him. It would be a big win for me and a step up the ladder in the division.”
As for the switch in Dollaway’s training locations, “We were at the Lion's Den for a little bit. Now, we’re training at Arizona State University. We've been doing our wrestling there. We also train at the Rage in the Cage center.”
Dollaway says he is unfazed by all of this movement.
“Everything is good. We still have all the main training partners. One of the key things is maintaining the same training partners that are going to get you better. They're going to be the ones there every day for you, keeping you on edge, keeping you working hard. Everything has been a smooth transition.”
This upcoming fight for “The Doberman” has been a long time in the works, with his last fight taking place in February. Even this period of inactivity is not unsettling.
“I’ve been on a big break, but our camp has been active, so I’ve been in the gym everyday helping all of them get ready for their fights.”
Dollaway explains that staying in the gym is the key to his winning, “I think getting better is simply making sure you are in the gym working every day. Getting better is just a result that will happen if you make sure you’re training everyday and working hard.”
Dollaway has had a solid half a year in 2010 to improve upon his skill set of already being a game and dangerous fighter. He has a well-known collegiate wrestling base with a penchant and aggressiveness in striking that has garnered him 5 TKO victories. If the fight hits the ground, Dollaway has shown slick submission skills as well. An interesting Dollaway moment was him teaching his ‘Ultimate Fighter’ coach Quinton “Rampage” Jackson the rarely used “Peruvian necktie” submission and then using that technique to tap fellow TUF alumnus Jesse Taylor in his second UFC fight. Not necessarily the same as Babe Ruth “calling his shot”, but maybe not too far off.
In addition to being adept in all areas of the fight, the Ohio native has a lot of heart and proved as such in his decision win over Jay Silva. “I had gotten a stomach flu or something after weigh-ins and I couldn't hold anything down all night and into the morning. I didn't get much sleep. I couldn’t rehydrate or put any food back into me.” Nevertheless, Dollaway nearly finished the fight in the first round and never relented for the rest of the fight. “I definitely went for the finish. In the first round I got to show off a lot that I was working on in training, but after that I really didn't have anything left. I won that fight on heart and just gutted it out.”
After the Silva fight, Dollaway went on to defeat Goran Reljic by another hard fought decision at UFC 110. With those two victories, Dollaway is positioning himself to be on a nice winning streak, if he can best Doerksen, in a stacked 185 pound division. Nonetheless, Dollaway is focused on his upcoming foe.
“If you look past your opponent and then lose it sets you back quite a bit. I experienced that with the Tom Lawlor bout. I was on a two fight win streak. I was looking past him a little thinking where I would go next and then I got choked out a minute into the fight. I know you need to put 100% of your attention on each fight. And make sure you get that victory.”
Now, “The Doberman” is stepping into the UFC cage for his seventh time on September 25th and he’s tugging at his leash to get in there.
“This long break makes me more excited to fight. I’m just itching to get back in there and get into a fight.”
Tied to Dollaway’s renewed passion is also a powerful statement of confidence and maturity regarding his place in the UFC.
“I feel like I belong here now. Obviously, you come off the reality show and you feel like you’re here because of the reality show. You have to prove yourself. I think I've done that. I’ve beaten some good guys, good competitors, and I think I belong here.”