Sayles sounds like a veteran, and yeah, unlike many 25-year-olds, but with fight week now underway, he’s still got that nice combination of wonder, butterflies in the stomach, and the desire to punch somebody in the face.
“It’s a mix of everything,” he said. “Being my third fight in the UFC, I’ve kind of gotten used to the backstage stuff and all the lights and that’s really been what’s been the hardest part for me in adjusting from being in the smaller shows for most of my professional career. But it’s just a fight for me. If I do what I do in the gym in front of everybody there, I think I’ll be good. I just have to perform.”
But what if the little devil and angel show up, the angel saying, ‘Stick to what got you here,’ which is his Muay Thai and boxing, while the devil says, ‘Hey, you submitted the last guy; why not go to the ground with this kid who is a groundfighting specialist?’
“I kinda listen to both,” Sayles laughs. “If it’s there and I can submit him, I’ll submit him. But I think the smarter game plan is to keep it on the feet. So I’ll keep it there, and if I gotta grapple him, I’ll grapple him.”
Then it’s off to 2020, a year Sayles hopes will be a big one.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a couple more wins, renew my contract with the UFC and keep moving forward,” he said. “If I beat this guy, he’s got a decent enough name that maybe I can call some name guys out after this if I get a big win, but if not, I’ll keep moving up and see where it goes. But the plan is to get to the top, so we’ll see.”
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