UFC 150: Jared Hamman Fueled by Love of the Fight
Fans of mixed martial arts love to see a fighter enter the cage and put it all on the line. But in a sport where winning is heralded above all else, there are times when strategy gives way to security. When this becomes the case, the action stalls as the fighter rides out the time clock. They are happy to take home the victory on the judge's scorecards as they make promises for a more exciting showing on another occasion.
Jared Hamman will never be this type of fighter.
The former college football player turned mixed martial artist entered the sport to test his abilities as a fighter and has operated with the type of mentality rarely seen at the highest level. Every time "The Messenger" steps into the cage, he does so with genuine intention that the fight will never reach the cageside judges.
There have been times when this approach has not worked in his favor, but his "never say die" attitude has shown UFC fans he's willing to give everything he has to get the job done.
If he fails, it becomes a lesson learned. But when he is victorious, it is further validation following his heart and passion to fight was the best choice he could have made.
"Of course I want to win, but this sport is fun for me," Hamman told Bleacher Report. "I don't over-pressure myself when thinking about winning. I always fight hard and go for the finish because to me that is fun. I never want to win a fight by slap boxing or laying on my opponent.
"I want to get hit far less that's for dang sure, but for me, the fun in all of this is going out there, trying to beat my opponent down, and finish the fight. I don't want to win by the judge's decision. The day that changes I'll quit fighting because it will no longer be fun to me.
"I get the fact that some people are so afraid to lose they become overly cautious and whatnot. Some guys fight that way, but others don't. There are fighters just naturally inclined to go out there fighting to win and are still exciting. Nobody has to tell a guy like Nick Diaz how to fight.
"It sounds like a funky thing to say, but I would rather go out on my shield, knowing I gave everything I had to get the win than holding back and trying my best not to lose.
"We are never promised our next fight. I could get in a car accident tomorrow and never be able to compete again. That could absolutely happen. With that being said, I want to go in there, fight my butt off like I always have and have some fun. I'm not saying I want to go out there and get hit a bunch. I know there are technical aspects to fighting, but my philosophy is to always be trying to end the fight before the judges get to it. If I can't do that, then I won't fight anymore."
In the days leading up to his previous bout against Constantinous Philippou at UFC 140, sudden family issues arose, which prompted Hamman and his wife to relocate to Denver. When Hamman squares off this Saturday against Michael Kuiper at UFC 150 in his new backyard, he will be looking to rebound back into the win column.
The move has also landed Hamman at Grudge training facility and he believes the benefits will show on fight night.
"My camp for this fight has been awesome," Hamman said. "I've trained a lot with Nate Marquardt and he's helped me tremendously. It has been a huge plus leading up to this fight. I've also trained with Brendan Schaub when he has been here in Denver in addition to guys like Eliot Marshall. There are a bunch of great dudes to train with out here.
"I've had some great coaching and that's not to say I haven't had great coaching this entire time. I want people to know, when I moved to Colorado, it was because of a lifestyle change and not because I'm not friends with Vladimir Matyushenko and those guys anymore. We left on great terms and we moved out here for family reasons."
Prior to facing Rafael Natal in his UFC debut, Kuiper had yet to see the loss column. The Judo black belt strung together 11 consecutive wins, with every victory coming by way of finish. While Hamman can appreciate his opponent's skill set, he feels time on the sport's biggest stage will be one of the factors in this fight.
"It's a funny thing, but for the first time, I believe me being a veteran is going to make a difference in this fight," Hamman said. "I've only had a handful of fights more than he has, but my experience in the UFC and my ability to handle the ups and downs is going to play a part.
"Kuiper is very good at getting up and his ground game is solid. I'm always working on my ground game and wrestling. For this camp, I've had some excellent guys to work with in those departments as well.
"I've also had some great Judo training. There is a coach out here by the name of Buck who helps train the Olympic Judo team. He comes in and trains with us all the time, so I've actually had some great Judo guys to go with. It's worked out very well."
When the cage door closes on Saturday and the referee gives the signal, Jared Hamman will be looking to give it everything he has. He will be pushing the action from the opening bell as he battles to get his hand raised at fight's end. It is the only way he knows how and it's something he knows will never change.
"I want to do my very best to finish fights," Hamman said. "I'm not saying to go out there and be reckless, which I have been at times, but I'm getting better at it and the results will hopefully show.
"I'm going to bring the same thing I always bring into fights, but this time it's going to be a in a little bit of a different way. I'm coming out to go hard and finish the fight, but be more aware of the punches while I'm looking to finish. That is and forever will be my mentality in this sport."
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