Ever wonder what it’s like to be the fighter who didn’t get a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series? It’s exactly as bad as you’d expect.
After a unanimous decision victory on season four of DWCS, Driscoll was as giddy as a child as he sat on his stool waiting for the UFC President to address his fight and give him the thumbs up or down. He was well aware of the downside, but after winning all three rounds against Dinis Paiva with ease, he didn’t see a way he would be walking out of the APEX with anything less than a UFC contract.
“I was sitting there on that stool and Dana said he sees a nice future for me but tonight’s not that night,” Driscoll recalls. “I sat in that chair and I watched other people get signed to the UFC while I sat there.”
Maybe it was because there wasn’t a finish, maybe not enough striking, who knows. Whatever it was, it was quite easily the most miserable win of his career.
“When we walked away it felt like I lost,” Driscoll said. “It’s a double-edged sword. I get the beauty of winning but motivation off the feeling of a loss. I’ve been able to put that in my toolbox and use it as motivation. It felt like a loss.”
The career-long featherweight attributes his performance to a bad weight cut. 175 to 145 on short notice took its toll. When he needed that extra oomph, he just couldn’t find it. But it’s just too hard to turn down a DWCS bout, no matter what it means for your body.
“It was just that extra push to find the finish,” Driscoll said. “I wasn’t able to shift into that next gear. I just didn’t have it to push that extra bit. It was taxing, and then when we got into the third round I made the decision that I had a lot of momentum so now I’m going to finish this guy but I wasn’t able to. I didn’t have the capacity inside myself to get it done due to the weight cut.”
Driscoll’s friends and teammates were about as supportive as he could have asked after the win.
Knowing what was on the line, people flew to Las Vegas with high hopes, and although the celebration wasn’t nearly to the level it may have been had Driscoll been signed, they were able to find a lot of fun in Driscoll’s mood after the biggest win of his career from their standpoint.
“A lot of my close friends were kind of laughing like, ‘Dude, you’re acting like you lost. You still got the win,’” Driscoll recalls. “A lot of my teammates really understood and also told me I was on the right path and to keep my nose on the grindstone. It was a lot of good, affirmative reactions.”
It was miserable at the time, but looking back at it all now, Driscoll is happy about the experience. He had a career-performance after a bigger weight cut than he’s used to, got a win in front of Dana White and had one heck of a night in Las Vegas with his friends afterward.
He may not be in the UFC yet, but a big performance at Cage Warriors 133 and he might end up where he thought he would a year and a half ago.
Catch the return of Kyle Driscoll at Cage Warriors 133, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!