Bantamweight contender Mitch Gagnon hasn’t competed since UFC Fight Night 58 in 2014, where he was submitted by former UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao. Even after being away from the sport for two years, he still feels that a lot of things are still the same.
“I think I’m just mentally where I was when I first got injured,” Gagnon told MMA Junkie Radio. “Although I came off a loss, I learned a lot from that loss. I’m just happy to be back healthy, and I can’t wait for Dec. 10. It was a great camp, and everything went well. I just can’t wait. I’ve kept learning. Even though I was on the shelf, I was still in the gym, still learning, and I think I’m a way better fighter.”
Gagnon had won four of five fights in the UFC before taking a break due to injuries, but the fighter hopes a few wins will put him into title contention.
“I want to get back and fight in that to-10, where I think I belong,” Gagnon said. “I’m not looking past Matthew Lopez this weekend. He’s a scrappy kid, and he’s coming to fight, but I do believe I belong in that top-10. It’s just about putting a win streak together and getting back in that top-10.”
If there is one thing that Gagnon believes that the injury helped him with, it was to make him mentally strong, a strength he will be carrying into the octagon.
“I think I’m very mentally strong,” Gagnon said. “I don’t let a lot of little things get to me. I know my capabilities, and that’s my mindset in every fight. The guy in front of me is just my weight. Two fists just like me. Whoever’s gameplan works better that night will win.”
UFC 206 takes place on Saturday, December 10 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis headlining.