Every great story is crafted the same way, broken down into three parts: rise, fall and rebound.
If a career in the cage can be viewed as a story, bantamweight Scott Jorgensen is ready to begin his third act.
Act One spans from June 15, 2006 to December 16, 2010 – the day of Jorgensen’s first fight, a first-round submission win over Mike Morris at Alaska Fighting Championship 24, through to the day he lost a unanimous decision to then-WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in Glendale, Arizona on the final night in the history of the promotion where he rose to prominence.
Act Two begins with Jorgensen’s debut in the UFC when he knocked out Ken Stone with a stiff right hand from inside his guard and runs through to July of this year, when the tattooed 33-year-old returned to the 135-pound ranks and dropped a unanimous decision to Manny Gamburyan, his seventh loss in 11 appearances inside the Octagon.
Act Three begins on Saturday, when “Young Guns” will step into the Octagon opposite TUF: Latin America Season One winner Alejandro Perez in preliminary card action when the UFC debuts in Monterrey, Mexico.
“I know that I’m blessed,” Jorgensen, ever the realist, admits. “The way that I fight and what I’ve done, I’m blessed that I kept my job through these recent cuts. I know that; I’m not an idiot. This sport is always ‘How’d you look in your last fight?’ so thank God that they’re taking into consideration what I’ve done the 21 previous fights.”
Jorgensen’s combined record in those 21 bouts split between the WEC and UFC stands at just 11-10, but a look beyond the final results paints a picture of more than just a fighter who is slightly over .500 on the biggest stage in the sport.
On his way to facing Cruz at WEC 53, the former Boise State University wrestling standout avenged a previous loss to Antonio Banuelos, lifted Chad George off the ground with a nasty standing guillotine choke and scored unanimous decision wins over divisional stalwarts Takeya Mizugaki and Brad Pickett.
Since transitioning to the UFC, the proud father has shared the Octagon with some of the top competitors in both the bantamweight and flyweight ranks, locking horns with the likes of Renan Barao, Eddie Wineland and Urijah Faber at 135-pounds before making the move down the scale to face Zach Makovsky, Jussier Formiga and Wilson Reis and then returning to his rightful weight class with his loss to Gamburyan in San Diego earlier this summer.
“I’ve spent the last five years since I fought Dominick with the mindset of ‘How many more fights until I fight for that belt again?’” Jorgensen explains. “It’s been my whole goal ,and while I think it’s everybody’s goal in the UFC is to fight for the title – win the title and be a champion – in doing that, I started looking far beyond where I was at in my career. This sport is a fight-by-fight, round-by-round, minute-by-minute sport. What I do right now is going to determine where I end up and I think I lost track of that.
“Going to ‘25 was the worst decision I’ve ever made,” he says bluntly, the frustration about the failed experiment evident in his voice. “I never should have been down there.”
While his return to the bantamweight ranks didn’t go as planned, Jorgensen isn’t dwelling on the setback or thinking about how many victories it is going to take before he’s fighting for the title again.
He’s started working with Dr. Jim Afremow, a sports psychologist, mental coach and author of “The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train and Thrive,” who has helped him reshape the way he thinks about training and stepping into the Octagon, while getting back to the approach that helped him climb the ladder and challenge for bantamweight gold five years ago.
“This isn’t an age thing and this isn’t a heart thing,” Jorgensen says of his struggles in the Octagon. “I let losing that title fight affect me, and everything after that became ‘Let’s get back to the title.’ It sucks because there is so much more to do in this sport before you fight for the title and I know that because that’s how I got to the point of fighting for that title.
“Now, I’m not focused on anything other than enjoying training, preparing myself for what lies ahead and I’m good at that. I don’t need to do anything else. I just need to prepare myself to be ready to compete on November 21 and the rest will fall in line.”
Heading into his fight with Perez, there are going to be people that read this or hear Jorgensen talk about getting back into the title mix one fight at a time, look at his record and scoff, chalking up his confidence as the same kind of pre-fight talk that sees most fighters predict a knockout victory whenever they’re preparing to step into the cage.
There are going to be people that dismiss him – write him off as a 33-year-old former title challenger that “doesn’t belong in the UFC” and “can’t cut it at this level.”
He’s knows that, he’s ready for it and these days, he doesn’t really care what anyone outside of his family thinks about him.
“Since I fought for that title, I would go into fights at times worrying what people are thinking on Twitter and in the media, wondering what they’re going to say, what they’re going to do – embarrassment was my biggest thing. I’m such a prideful individual that I let that detract from my performance too.
“I don’t care now,” he laughs. “I’ve got nothing to prove. I don’t have to prove s**t to the media. I don’t have to prove s**t to the fans. My family loves me no matter what. My son is my biggest fan, so who is left to prove anything to? I go out there, do my thing and if you like it – great! If you don’t – to be frank – f**k you.
“I know I’ve got a lot of knocks and a lot of people bitching and moaning about guys being cut for less, but I’m a f**king warrior – the UFC has kept me around for one reason and that’s because I am one of the best in the world.
“I’m on the verge of writing the greatest comeback story,” he adds. “It’s been five years since I fought for the title and this next fight is an all-new, old ‘Young Guns.’ Win-by-win, I’m going to write the greatest comeback story possible.”