In life, you don't get many chances to make a second impression. Brett Rogers almost lost that chance last June. Rogers had a physical altercation with his wife and left her with injuries to her neck, ear, back, jaw and a missing tooth.
Rogers was arrested and then the following day was released by Strikeforce. The worst was yet to come when he was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Things weren't so great for Rogers when he was released from jail and went back to his profession, being an MMA fighter. He has gone 1-1-1 since his release. Rogers knew something good needed to happen. Enter Bellator Chairman, Bjorn Rebney.
Rebney was reluctant at first as he needed to be reassured Rogers had put the past behind him. After talking to Rogers, Rebney knew he was a changed man and decided to give Rogers a shot.
Rogers made his debut for Bellator at the end of June and defeated Kevin Asplund with a second-round TKO. It was his first win by KO/TKO since he defeated former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski via TKO in June of 2009. Rogers felt a sense of relief to get a win like that once again in spectacular fashion.
"It was the greatest feeling," Rogers told Bleacher Report. "This is my sport. I love what I do. When you're in someone's face and you catch them with a nice hook or a straight right hand, they go down and you go down to finish them, it is the greatest feeling."
There was a different feeling though about the fight with Asplund. The fight took place on the preliminary portion of the card. After main-eventing cards against the likes of Fedor Emelianenko and Alistair Overeem, it was a humbling experience for Rogers.
"It was definitely a humbling experience for me because I feel in my mind a lot of people knew me, but I realized a lot of people didn't know me," Rogers stated. "I knew I was at the building point. I take everything into consideration. Wins and losses are important in this sport. It doesn't do any good to go out there and get your a** kicked and expect to bounce back.
"I'm not trying to fight like that and be that fighter. I'm going to go out there and fight to the best of my abilities. I learned through the losses you can't be whatever in the cage, you have to give your all. That's the only way of survival."
Now Rogers returns to the Bellator cage on Friday night, where he will be competing in the first round of the heavyweight tournament as he squares off against Alexander Volkov. The card takes place at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. The Rogers vs Volkov fight is apart of the main card and you can watch it on MTV 2 starting at 8 PM ET.
The man known as "Da Grim" knew changes needed to be made to his career, so Rogers packed his bags, left the cold of Minnepolis to head down to Cocunut Creek, Florida to the gym of American Top Team.
"I have to credit my manager Jerry Millen. He's opening my ears and eyes as far as the do's and don't's of MMA," Rogers stated. He said you are not going to be able to do what your have been doing (in terms of his career) in Minnepolis. All the heavyweights there, are spread out. We got great wrestling programs in Minnesota, but after those programs are done, they go home and don't want to do nothing to step up in MMA.
"That's when I decided to go to ATT. It's a great feeling to be here. Ricardo Liborio (head trainer at ATT and Brazilian Ji-Jitsu black belt) is a master of his craft. He has great coaches and a great team. I can't complain whatsoever. I'm training with Bigfoot Silva, Steve Mocco, who drilled Cole Konrad to the ground every time they rolled and wrestled in college.
"They are constantly in my face and taking me down in multiple training sessions per day. It's definitely a step up for me and being around guys who definitely want it, will definitely make me rise to the top."
A lot of people feel Rogers doesn't deserve this opportunity in Bellator and feel this is his last shot at glory. Rogers doesn't feel this is the case and is ready to make the most of this second chance.
"I wouldn't necessarily say that (in this being his last shot at glory)," Rogers stated. "I'm a hard worker and I love this sport. I'm getting older and I have a lot of wants and needs. I'm going to make it happen and not lose out on this chance on showing that a lot of stuff happened to me and have overcame a lot in my personal life. I'm going to capitalize on this chance."
Rogers feels this is a new version of himself and he plans on showing that to the world, starting tomorrow night.
"This is Brett Rogers 2.5," Rogers stated. "Everbody is going to see a difference. I'm going to come out cool, calm, collected and collect my money. I'm not overlooking Alexander Volkov because he is a fighter, but I believe he hasn't fought a fighter like me."
You can follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.