UFC bantamweight Mike Easton tasted defeat for the first time inside the Octagon last December when the ringside judges unanimously agreed that his opponent, Raphael Assuncao, did enough work to best him.
"The Hulk" hopes to parlay the experience of losing into improvement and will look to rebound on April 6 when he takes on MMA veteran Brad Picket at UFC on Fuel TV 9.
During a recent interview with UFC.com, Easton explained how his match with Assuncao will help him to grow as a mixed martial artist.
"(He) got me in a situation where I had to chase him down, and you don’t want to have to be in that situation," he noted. "It makes for a boring fight. He played his game plan, and I learned a lot from it. It was a good experience for me."
Easton went on to identify what he could have done differently—what he can do differently next time—when an opponent slows the pace.
“Sometimes I need to calm down a little bit,” he admitted. “I felt I was a little too amped or too hyped; I could have slowed the pace down a little bit. I feel like if I didn't chase him, and he had to keep coming to me, it would have been a totally different fight."
But while Easton is seeking growth though approaching his attacks more methodically, he has no intention of reinventing his style. In fact, the 3-1 UFC vet is hoping to put on a show for the ages at UFC on Fuel TV 9, and he believes that his adversary will indulge him.
“I expect it to be an action-packed fight, and he expects it to be an action-packed fight," Easton said of Pickett. "I’m a pocket fighter just like he’s a pocket fighter; we both like to fight on the inside...."
The pairing certainly has the makings of a memorable show, as both fighters are noted for pressing the action. And if both guys come out with the attitude that they can each hang in the pocket, well, that may just spell Fight of the Night when it's all said and done.
But truth be told, the accolade of Fight of the Night and its accompanying bonus wouldn't be enough to satisfy Easton.
"I want this to be the fight that goes down as Fight of the Year," he said.
If Easton indeed gets his wish, that will mean the fight is an instant classic. To beat out Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice for Fight of the Year, well, Easton vs. Pickett will have to be absolutely spectacular.