Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Zak Cummings will make his 11th walk to the Octagon this weekend, and the Kansas City, Missouri native has never felt better.
Zak Cummings is a part of a group of fighters from the American mid-west that used to go by the name “Grindhouse MMA” way back in the AXS TV days. James Krause, who fights in the UFC and trains with Cummings, was the figurehead so to speak in those days. Cummings might have flown a little under the radar.
Fast forward eight years, and Cummings has carved out a nice career for himself in the UFC. He will be taking on the undefeated Trevin Giles this weekend at UFC Rochester (UFC on ESPN+ 10) in Rochester, New York.
Giles is a talented prospect. However, some questions remain. Namely, Giles hasn’t competed in 18 months. Instead, he was busying with police officer basic training.
“I’m actually a huge advocate for law enforcement,” Cummings said when asked about Giles’ police training. “I highly respect him and then just knowing that he took a break from going 2-0 in the UFC, he is undefeated, he is a big prospect, a lot of stuff is looking positive for him and he is like ‘whoa whoa whoa, I’m gonna put this on hold and go and get a real career going,’ that way he has more time in the game when he is done fighting. I gotta respect that.”
“It’s not gonna change anything on fight day but I definitely respect him highly for it.”
Cummings is in a unique situation, one many people might be envious of. That is, he will be locked inside the octagon with Giles, who is a police officer. Not only that, Cummings will be able to legally inflict violence on a peace officer. But as the Missouri native explains, this isn’t the first time he will get to fight a cop.
“It won’t be the first time,” Cummings said when asked about fighting a police officer. “Back in the day on a regional show I actually fought another officer. He said he needed to take a little time off to go back to work, his face was a little mangled.”
Another big change for Cummings was his decision to move back up to 185-pounds. A choice that Cummings thinks will unlock his untapped potential.
“I decided to go back up to middleweight and try and not kill myself cutting weight as much. I feel good there.
“My last few cuts to 170 have been rough, I mean really, really rough,” he admitted. “Even when I fight at 170 or 85, I’m pretty much the same weight in the cage so that’s not changing much but the weight cuts were just getting really bad.”
“I feel like at 170, for the most part, I didn’t even care about the fight. My fight was making weight. I was like, ‘I’m getting paid to make weight, I’ll fight the dude for free, I don’t really care about that.’ That was the battle.”
Cummings will make his return to middleweight this weekend at UFC Rochester. The card airs live on ESPN+ in the U.S., and on TSN and UFC Fight Pass in Canada.