Ben Nguyen is only one of three ranked fighters to be competing this Saturday Night at UFC Fight Night 101, but he’s coming off of a loss in his hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a loss that greatly affected the fighter.
“It was a big downer for me losing in my hometown, and it just kind of lit a fire under my ass, and it was just like, ‘Let’s do this. I’ve got to get better,'” Nguyen told MMA Junkie. “I just chose so many different avenues to get better. Not just like what happened in the fight, but just overall improving as a martial artist and an athlete. I’ve been doing a lot of mental preparation for this. I got a mental coach now, Jeff Jordan from Fight Brain. We meet every week on Skype, and he helps frame things a little bit differently and helps me visualize the win. It was a big build-up to the fight for me. I hadn’t been at home for a long time, and it was like kind of a homecoming for me. When I woke up that day, I just didn’t feel right. When I fought Louis Smolka I didn’t do anything that I wanted to. I could have stood up anytime in that fight, and I just got pummeled on the ground and got really tunnel-visioned, and it was probably my worst performance.”
With that horrible experience behind him now, Nguyen feels more relaxed as he faces Geane Herrera at UFC Fight Night 101.
“Looking at the silver lining of things, I felt like taking a beating like that, I don’t think anything can match up to that,” Nguyen said. “He beat my ass pretty good. I hung in there as long as I could, I probably would have stayed in there until the end if (referee) Herb (Dean) didn’t stop it. I do agree with that decision to step in; I took way too much damage in that fight. I actually feel a little bit more relaxed this time around. I didn’t have to travel much – had a two-hour plane ride. I think a big thing in being able to compete at your best is to have an environment that’s the same to where you train. My environment hasn’t changed much. I’m pretty relaxed. I feel the most relaxed than the lead up to any other fight I’ve done. So it’s nice.”
UFC Fight Night 101 takes place on Saturday, November 26 from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia with Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson headlining.