When Mike Easton (10-1 MMA) makes his UFC debut on Saturday night, it’ll be the first time he’s fought in nearly two years.
While injuries delayed Easton from adding to a five-fight win streak, the bantamweight’s returned to full health and he’s ready to continue his winning ways in the sport’s premier organization.
Easton, who was originally slated to face Jeff Hougland before he was forced out of the matchup due to an undisclosed injury, now faces Byron Bloodworth (6-1) at Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and he’s thrilled to showcase to skills.
“It’s in my hometown,” Easton recently told BleacherReport.com. “I was born in Washington D.C., so I’m excited about that. It’s right there at the Verizon Center and he’s facing a hyped-up Mike Easton, a 100-percent Mike Easton because my last three fights, my elbow was fractured, so that’s me fighting at 50-60 percent, (and) now that everything is taken care of, imagine what you guys are gonna see now. I have a family that I have to feed, which makes me even more hungrier to fight. I’m just ready, just prepared.”
In preparation for his return to action at the Versus televised event, Easton prepared at his home gym under the tutelage the head coach Lloyd Irvin.
Easton’s confidence is on high due to the countless hours of training he’s clocked with Irvin and he brings eight years of experience as a professional fighter to a talent-rich 135-pound division.
“Well, I’m in tremendous shape,” Easton said. “If you know Master Lloyd Irvin, you know he brings in the best coaches and he has an awesome game plan. He’s one of the best game-planners when it comes to mixed martial arts and I just follow his plan. I’m an android and he tells me what to do and I just do it. It all works out from there and I’ve had my time off taking care of injuries, that’s what had set me back and now that we have all of my injuries taken care, I’m at a 110 percent and it’s on.
“I’m going into the UFC with a lot of experience, but I am definitely one of the top strikers in the 135-pound division and I’m a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. So, that makes it hard for whoever stands in front of me, I’m an exciting fighter and for sure I’m the hardest hitting 135er in the division. That’s what I’m confident in and I’m confident in the game-planning and my conditioning is out of this world. I’m just ready to show the world what I got.”
While the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt hasn’t competed since a decision victory over Chase Beebe in October, 2009, he’s remained active in the sport and has continued to learn alongside teammate Dominick Cruz.
“Of course at the end of fights, he’s hyping me up,” Easton said. “He’s talked about me being his training partner, also learning from him and getting experience for how they fight in the UFC and the top level of mixed martial arts. It’s a great learning experience and we still train to this day, he’s still my boy and we just have a good time. We just learn from each other and it’s awesome.”
Cruz, who trains at Alliance MMA in California, defends his bantamweight championship in the event’s headliner. The bond the champion and Easton have formed along with their teams has made for quite the successful fighting family.
“We are a big family and it’s great to see East Coast and West Coast come together the way we do,” Easton said. “I go to camp there, he comes over here, then we travel back and forth. Eric (Del Fierro) and Master Lloyd have a real close relationship, they’re real close and of course you have Brandon Vera and Phil Davis over on the West Coast, who I know very well and those are my boys. They’re like my best friends and it’s one of those things when we see each other we get excited. We are family and they are my brothers and that’s how we treat each other.”
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