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14 - Felice Herrig visiting Happy Place pop-up experience in Las Vegas
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Felice Herrig Is Ready For Redemption

After A 22 Month Layoff, Felice Herrig Feels New-And-Improved Ahead OF Rematch Against Karolina Kowalkiewicz At UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Rozenstruik

Felice Herrig is a picture of contentment in her fight week interview with UFC.com.

The generally chipper Herrig seems especially at ease a few days out from her first fight since August 2020 and just her second fight in four years due to a couple knee surgeries, and yet “rejuvenated” is the buzzword that keeps popping up for “Lil’ Bulldog.”

Part of it is the relative confidence borne from multiple decades spent in the fight game, but Herrig is also, perhaps for the first time, not worrying about the diet portion of a camp. Instead, she learned the values of listening to her body and not wasting energy on chasing leads to nowhere. 

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“I’ve always been a serious, dedicated fighter, but almost too much,” Herrig told UFC.com. "I feel like I’ve been overly obsessive to the point where I don’t eat as much as I should. I train too much. I think the knee surgery helped me be more aware of my body.”

The surgery came after a submission loss to Virna Jandiroba. The defeat gave Herrig her third in a row, but instead of wallowing in her tough run of form, she is choosing the bright side of things.

That’s easier said than done when Herrig hasn’t had her hand raised since late-2018, but all anyone can go off of is a fighter’s most recent bout. Herrig, however, provides some context. She puts her own little asterisk next to that memory because of an injured meniscus she dealt with throughout camp.

“I just want to say the takeaway from that fight was, ‘I’m a badass mother**ker. You better be scared of somebody who refuses to pull out of a fight with her meniscus pulled out of the bone knowing something is not right,’” Herrig said. “I faced my fears, and I got that fight behind me now.”

Now Herrig can’t wait to get a crack at Karolina Kowalkiewicz and avenge her split decision loss from April 2018.

Felice Herrig Preps For Return | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Rozenstruik
Felice Herrig Preps For Return | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Rozenstruik
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Kowalkiewicz finds herself on a tough stretch – the win over Herrig was her last. Along the way, she has lost in a variety of ways that makes fight fans wonder how much the former title challenger has left in the tank. 

“I’m excited that I feel like my comeback fight is also going to be a redemption fight,” Herrig said. “I feel like I’m going to win. I know I’m going to win. It’s just in my heart. I’m going to win this fight. I feel like I know I’m a better fighter than when I fought Karolina (the first time), but from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like she’s a better fighter.”

Fight By Fight Preview | UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Rozenstruik

Herrig went on to say she doesn’t press too much energy into psychoanalyzing her opponent, but she does share the sentiment that emotional turmoil is debilitating when it comes to fighting. 

That said, Herrig is enthusiastic about all the tools she has spent time sharpening as of late, and is hoping she can pull the strings to tilt things into her favor after a long time away

“I just, overall, feel like a new-and-improved fighter, and I’m excited,” she said. “I feel like, too, at my age, people look at it like, ‘Oh, she’s 37, she’s had two knee surgeries, she’s on her way out,’ and I feel like people are going to be like, ‘Oh my God, this is a Felice Herrig we’ve never seen before,’ so that’s what I’m excited about.”

For all the eagerness she holds, Herrig plainly wants to win. She isn’t holding herself to the result, but she can’t help but get a little emotional about the idea of her hand getting raised for the first time in four years. Part of the journey is the process, of course, so she is at peace with how she has pursued that potential moment. In the end, that is enough satisfaction for her.

MORE FIGHT NIGHT: Fight Card Updates | Fight By Fight Preview | What Volkov Needs | Fighters On The Rise

“It would mean the world to me, but also, during this recovery, I’ve realized wins and losses aren’t the end-all, be-all. If I lost a fight, I used to get really, really depressed, and now I’m just like, ‘Whatever.’ I’ve ticked off every single box. I’ve done every single thing in my power to go out there and win this fight. If I don’t, then it’s not meant to be for me.”

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UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs Rozenstruik, took place on Saturday, June 4, 2022, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!