Tom ‘Kong’ Watson has shrugged off any notion of pressure as he prepares for a potentially decisive fight in his UFC career.
The 32-year-old Mixed Martial Arts expert from Southampton has suffered back-to-back losses in the prestigious Ultimate Fighting Championships, and a third defeat on the bounce could spell the end of his journey with the lucrative franchise.
However, Watson is upbeat about his chances as he takes on Sam Alvey in Bangor, Maine, USA, in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
“Pressure is what you put on yourself,” he said. “A lot of people get carried away.
“There is a huge amount of time in the span of someone’s life that carries far more importance than what someone is dealing with going into a fight. For me, at this time, fighting is something that pays bills for me and has my focus at this time. But it is not life. It is just the thing I am doing right now.
“Some workers invest passion and dedication into a project for decades and still don’t see the progress they’ve made. You start at one end of the process and, this Saturday night, there will be a fight at the other end, and when that time arrives, rest assured I’m going to give it all I have.”
He added: “I think I showed a lot of improvements in my last fight, especially in regards to my takedown defence. Sure he took me down a couple of times, but he didn’t keep me down and so there’s been massive improvements in that respect.
“There’s still stuff to work on, and I’m still ironing out mistakes I’ve been making since early in my career. But I’m learning and improving all the time.
“I just wish it was stuff I picked up on earlier in my career really.”
Watson has had three defeats and one win in four UFC contests, but all his losses have come via decision, with two via close split decisions.
His victory was an entertaining knockout of Stanislas Nedkov, that earned him the fight of the night honour and with it a $100,000 bonus.
In American fighter Alvey he faces another striker, and somebody who believes he can trade with Watson and do him damage.
“I think it’s a great fight from a stylistic perspective,” said Watson. “On paper at least, I can see this fight turning into an absolute war on the feet.
“He’s a tough guy and is very heavy-handed. I’ve watched all his fights and he’s going to come forward and be throwing the entire time “I’ve watched some of his fights where he’s scored knockouts in the later rounds and that definitely means he can be dangerous throughout.
“That said, he’s coming out of Team Quest and this is his first fight in the UFC, so I imagine they are going to have some strategy, but we’ll see what happens when we get in there.”