Sometimes giving things up isn't easy. Other times, well, it is.
For UFC bantamweight Ken Stone, giving up soccer was easy. After dedicating years to the sport he once loved, Stone quickly grew tired of the constant complaints that come along with the sport.
As a result, Stone made the transition from the soccer field to the cage, where he's spent the last five years of his life. Stone, who doesn't regret the decision at all, is coming off his first win inside the UFC Octagon where he made quick work of Donny Walker via rear-naked choke less than a year ago.
In a recent interview, Stone sat down with Bleacher Report to discuss his transition and more.
Garrett Derr: If I'm not mistaken, you grew up playing soccer. Why did you choose to give up soccer and pursue a career in mixed martial arts?
Ken Stone: I gave up soccer because as I grew older, small things about the sport started to drive me nuts. I could no longer stand the players who were arguing with the referees on every single call that was made.
No matter how much you sit there and argue with them, they are never going to change their call, so why even bother? Small things like that. I eventually decided to wrestle in college instead of playing soccer, as I enjoyed the daily grind and loved to stay in shape.
GD: You fell short in your UFC debut, but you bounced back in impressive fashion with your win over Donny Walker. What did it mean to capture your first win inside the Octagon?
KS: It was great to get my first official UFC victory. The whole experience was pretty fantastic. That really sums it up. After having that experience and witnessing what it meant to win, I hope to have many more similar to it.
GD: You were originally set to meet Edwin Figueroa at UFC on FX 4, then Francisco Rivera, and now Dustin Pague. You have to be somewhat disappointed or thrown off with all these changes.
KS: You know, I'm really not that disappointed to be honest. I do a lot of the same training regardless of who my opponent is. So, I have not had to change my training too much heading into this fight on Friday.
GD: When breaking down Pague's game, what areas do you feel you'll be able to exploit come fight night? Where do you believe his biggest strength lies?
KS: When I examine his game, I don't see too many weak areas. He is definitely a pretty well-rounded fighter. When you face a well-rounded fighter much like himself, you need to find mistakes. I am going to exploit any mistakes he makes.
GD: You train with American Top Team. What has your experience been like?
KS: The experience training down here with American Top Team has been fantastic. One of the things that has allowed me to progress as a fighter, is being around a group of top notch guys. They push me and allow me to get better. I couldn't be happier with where I am at today.
GD: You reside in the bantamweight division. With Cruz out, who do you believe becomes the new interim champion, Urijah Faber or Renan Barao?
KS: Well, let it be known that both Faber and Barao are great fighters. This is going to be an extremely close fight. If we have a coin, Urijah is heads and Renan is tails. Flip that coin and that right there is my prediction.
GD: What is your main goal moving forward?
KS: My main goal as a fighter is to simply keep on my winning ways. If I continue to win, I'll eventually move up the rankings and crack the top 10. Cracking the top 10 is a goal of mine. Once I do that, then I'll begin to re-evaluate things.
GD: Fighting is obvious your go-to. But, outside of fighting, what are some of the things you enjoy doing?
KS: When I'm not fighting, I enjoy computers in general. Other things I like to do are watch movies and stay in shape. I'm interested in anything health related. And of course, I always enjoy spending time with friends and family.
Garrett Derr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.
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