Paul Buentello is not done fighting.
Even though he is coming off of two straight losses in the UFC (to Stefan Struve and Cheick Kongo), Buentello is not going to sit back and take time to reassess his career.
Instead, Buentello quickly signed on for another fight. Just two months after the Kongo loss, Buentello is ready to take on Bryan Humes this Saturday night, May 22.
The fight will take place with the upstart Shark Fight promotion in Odessa, TX.
“I’m excited to get back on the horse,” Buentello said about the upcoming bout. “It’s only been about six or seven weeks since I was released from the UFC. It’s fortunate that Shark Fights jumped on the ball and got me the fight right away.”
Buentello leaves no doubt as to what he hopes to accomplish by fighting on smaller shows.
“I want to get back to the UFC,” the former Strikeforce and UFC title contender said. “That’s the whole objective here.”
In order to have a realistic shot at achieving his goal, Buentello has to get past Humes. With a 6-0 record and four finishes (three KOs, one submission), Humes has shown an ability to end his fights early.
“He’s fighting me, and he’s coming in 100 miles an hour,” Buentello said when asked about Humes. “He wants to be Paul Buentello. I have to respect that. He has nothing to lose. He’s going to come out and try to hit me as hard as he can. That’s the kind of fight I live for.”
Throughout his career, Buentello has been known to have exciting stand-up fights. His No. 1 goal when he enters any fighting arena is to be entertaining.
Unfortunately, that may have led to his downfall during his last stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Even though he was hurt early in the Kongo fight, he refused to take the easy way out.
He was there to put on a show.
“I dislocated my finger,” Buentello said. “Instead of calling the fight, I continued on. Sometimes, I think back if I should have stayed with this fight. I think I should have just called it right there.”
“It was very painful. I kept thinking ‘I can’t hit this guy anymore’. That’s my bread and butter—my right hand. It just ruined the fight.”
Nevertheless, Buentello stayed in the fight and eventually lost by third round submission due to strikes.
Immediately after the fight, rumors came out that Buentello would be retiring from the sport. After all, he has been a professional for 13 years and 39 fights. Over that time, “The Headhunter” has amassed a record of 27-12 (17 KOs, nine submissions).
“No, not at all,” Buentello said when asked if he was contemplating retirement. “That was a comment my trainer Trevor Whitman made. I love this sport way too much. I just have to sit back and realize ‘Hey, I lost my job’ and just go back and start over again.”
With the upcoming fight against Humes, Buentello has his next opportunity. He plans to prove that he is indeed a fighter that every fan will watch.
“I want to be in one of those fights that the whole stadium is into,” Buentello said. “I don’t want anybody sitting on their seats.”
He remembers back to the fateful loss against Kongo for the way he does not want to win a fight.
“Let’s say I went out there and held someone down like Cheick Kongo did. Someone could walk up to me and say, ‘You did good. You won,’ but they won’t have anything else to say. When someone sees me win a fight, I want the guy to sit there and want to talk to me about it.”
Throughout his MMA career, Buentello has had the chance to perfect his all-action style across the country. He’s fought for many different promotions including Strikeforce, Affliction, and the UFC.
“The best promotion to be at was Affliction,” Buentello said. “Yes, the paycheck was better, but it was just great being in that atmosphere. And the UFC. The UFC makes it so easy to get by. Everything is laid out so well.”
Regardless, the veteran knows why Affliction is no longer around.
“They tried to compete with the UFC. That’s why they failed.”
On the other hand, Shark Fights is taking a much different approach. Instead of trying to make a huge national splash and attempt to compete on a large scale, they are staying close to their roots in Amarillo, TX.
Shark Fights has already had over 10,000 fans show up for one of their events.
“They’re taking great care of me,” Buentello said of his new fighting home. “I know everything I have to do. They’ve already set up my next fight.”
Buentello is alluding to June 19. He is prepared to step back into the cage following the Humes fight. At this point, he does not know against whom he will be fighting, but he does know where. The fight will take place in Buentello’s hometown of Amarillo, TX.
However, before he can make any definite plans for his friends and family to come see him perform, Buentello has to first get past Humes.
“You’re going to see a really fast pace,” Buentello said. “I’m going to put my hands on him, and I hope he tries to do the same. I’m going to get my hand raised with the knockout.”
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