Back in the inception of the UFC in 1993 and on some Pride cards, fights were held in a one night tournament style. Now with athletic commissions overseeing the sport and Pride no longer being around, we don't see that format anymore. If Ben Saunders had a say, we would see that format once again.
Saunders (13-5, 4-2 BFC) returns to the Bellator cage tonight as he squares off against MMA veteran Brian Warren (18-15 MMA, 0-0 BFC) at Bellator 72 in a catchweight fight of 178 pounds. The fight will headline preliminary portion of the card, which you on see on Spike.com
Saunders feels if Bellator went to that format, it would be a battle to how strong a fighter really is.
"It's probably of the most hardcore things you can do in the fight game that is," Saunders told Bleacher Report. "The only thing that maybe come to a more hardcore level is three fights in 1 night. A lot of us honestly if you ask people in Bellator, they might tell you because I will tell you how. I would rather try and to test the waters and see. Everything's by chance. Everything is circumstance.
"You don't know what happens in a fight. You don't know what happens with injuries in camp. You don't know everything that's going on. it's almost like if your doing it all in one night, your only doing one weight cut all in one night. The chance is still there. Do you get injured in one of your fights? Does your opponent get injured in one fight?
"It really comes down to just mental toughness. Push through it and try to make it work. You also got to realize is the reality of it and you know your mind can push you through a million things, but if the body can't do it for whatever reason there might be issues overcoming. That's the sport as far as the whole tournament format goes. It's just a battle of wills, a circumstantial chance."
Saunders has fought in two tournaments in Bellator with making the finals in his first go around and the semi-finals last season. He feels the Bellator tournament style has showed how strong he really is.
"I honestly thought I was always a mentally strong fight," Saunders states. "it was more like the test to see how strong you are. That's the same thing as the fight game in general. Being able to see how good you are. Testing yourself against the best in the world. What people don't understand is those five losses that I might have are so huge. If I actually look at what it actually means.
"If I look at how I lost them and really try to completely analyze things like that, I'm able to break down my strengths, my weaknesses. I get to really see things. I think it just definitely helps out."
The card tonight takes place in Tampa, Florida, which isn't too far from where Saunders trains at with American Top Team in Orlando. That was the only reason Saunders took this fight.
"That was the main reason and the only reason when they asked me to be on the card that I pretty much accepted because it was in Florida," Saunders stated. "I never get to fight in Florida. I got to fight in a local WEF show before I signed with Bellator. Other than that, it was three years before I fought in Florida before that. My career coming up was all Florida based.
"I definitely miss being able to fight in front of my friends, my family, close fans, students and my teammates. It's a completely different atmosphere when your at home. That definitely gave me the incentive to fight and train my butt off to come here and put on a phenominal perfomance for all of them."
You can listen to entire interview with Ben Saunders here.
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