Veteran Rob Kimmons returns to the Octagon on August 1st, eager to right his ship against equally determined Steve Steinbeiss.
Rob Kimmons has just divulged a secret he never thought he would casually unearth during an interview. The secret is more of an admission into his mental state at what he at one time considered the apex of his career and this secret has also haunted his UFC performances to date.
“I’m going to say something that I’ve never said to anybody. Since I was 14 years old I dreamed of fighting in the UFC. I remember I rented UFC 2 on videocassette from a Blockbuster (Video) and I said ‘oh this is what I’m going to do’ and I really did it. I remember after my first fight, I had dreamed my whole life and I thought I’d never get to the UFC when I was like 20-2 and couldn’t really get a fight and then it happened and I won my first fight and it was like ‘ok, well now what?’ I had achieved my dream, I won my dream. After that my next fights I won one of them and lost two of them and I’m not trying to make excuses - I was training and stuff - but I had reached my dream, I had accomplished it and I was sort of half ass training and I wasn’t as hungry as I was.”
After a long career that was all predicated on the hope that one day he would receive that fateful call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva granting him entry into the organization of his childhood dreams, it came true. There is a saying that you should always watch what you wish for as you just might receive it.
“But I’ll tell you something,” he said. “Losing sucks! I was always considered the baddest dude up here in these parts, and I always had respect from my fellow fighters. This is a fighting city up here in Kansas City; there’s hundreds and hundreds of fighters from here and I used to get so much respect that its funny because now I don’t. It seems like they don’t realize the difference between fighting on their damn amateur show and fighting in the UFC. My pride has been hurt so bad lately that I have trained so hard and I’m so hungry and I want to climb the ranks. I want to fight in the UFC until I retire. If you’re in the NFL of MMA, you don’t want to go. I’m hungry and I want to show what I can do. I’m so much better, I’ve never fought as good as I can in the UFC, and I’ve never fought at the top of my ability. But I’m ready to now, and I’m ready to show what I can do. I think I can be a real contender, I really do.”
Looking at the numbers, Kimmons is the real deal and probably one of the most underrated fighters in the middleweight division. With a perfect amateur career and an excellent professional record of 22-5, Kimmons is a true veteran. As one of the early fighters in Kansas, Kimmons came into the game as raw clay and quickly began dominating since his first gym fight challenge (better known as a ‘smoker’) that he won and which inspired him to pursue the sport as a career. The allure of the UFC shone bright, and from day one Kimmons cemented himself in Kansas MMA history and began on his path to the big show. He also learned valuable lessons that he feels his latest opponent with a 4-3 record, Steve Steinbess, might not have through experience.
“I was in the first amateur cage fight ever in Kansas City. I went in there and I knocked a guy out in nine seconds and after that I was hooked. Also, I was an All-Kansas Wrestler before that fight and even in those little ‘smokers’ and in Pancrase I was a wrestler; I took dudes down and I punched them in the body and I looked for submissions, but after that nine-second knockout I’m turning into a knockout machine. I was 16-0 as an amateur with 15 knockouts and 1 submission because that one knockout just sent me on that path. It’s funny because then I turned pro and I fought Joe “Diesel” Riggs I figured out ‘wow, okay I can’t knock everybody out.’ If you notice my record now as a pro I’ve got almost all submissions because it’s easier, I think, to finish a guy by subbing him because if you choke all the air out of him they go to sleep.”
Kimmons’ last Octagon appearance yielded a third round TKO loss to Jorge Rivera, a fight that turned the tide mentally for Kimmons. After the loss he began immediately training with a strength and conditioning coach and the old spark that he once felt when dreaming of gracing the Octagonal canvas returned. Now Kimmons wants to stretch his legs and finally enjoy it.
“I’m in the UFC and I want to stay there and to do that I’ve got to start beating people’s asses and I’m going to. I’m a real nice person outside of fighting and it’s real hard to balance that, but right now it’s not a problem. In the 185-pound division I think I just stack up good with everybody. I’m a well-rounded guy, my biggest strength is that no matter who I’m fighting I’m usually better than them in some aspect of the fight. Even if I’m fighting Anderson Silva, I’m not going to try to bang with him, but at least in my head I think if I take this dude down I can kick his ass. I think I can really do something in this division - I just have to show it.”