UFC Rochester: Zak Cummings Rubbed the Wrong Way by Fighters Who Don’t Treat MMA Like a Sport

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Fresh off another win at UFC Rochester, Zak Cummings is hoping to stay more active at middleweight, would rather fight opponents he can respect.

Rochester, NY — With more fighters finding homes at higher weight classes, forgoing grueling, unhealthy weight cuts, it seems Zak Cummings is one of the success stories. After moving back to middleweight in his last fight, Cummings (23–6) is 2-0, and coming off a big win over Trevin Giles at UFC Rochester.

An entertaining scrap that went late into the third round, the Giles fight ended when Cummings rocked his opponent, then caught him in a guillotine.

Speaking to reporters including Cageside Press following the fight, Cummings recapped the action, and called Giles the sort of opponent he likes — one in it for the sport, and the competition.

On the action in the cage Saturday, which saw Cummings struggle to find the finish until late, he recalled that “Trevin was really hard to hit, man. There’s nothing I can say. I felt really good, I saw everything he was throwing, I just could not quote get close enough to really land anything clean.”

Part of that, mind you, was fighting smart. “I didn’t want to overly expose myself, so… I’m a finisher, I want to finish guys. I feel like I was winning the fight, but I knew it was really close. I still had that sense of urgency in the third round.” And so, telling himself to go in and get the finish, Cummings “started kind of timing his counter little bit. And kind of looped that left hand over the shoulder, put him on his butt. Thought about stepping in for the knockout, but I got a nasty guillotine, it was there, jumped in on it, and I felt really good with the grip.”

Between rounds, his coaches “knew it was really close.” While they believed Cummings was winning, “you never know what the judges are looking for. So obviously I’ve got to have a sense of urgency to go in and win this fight, I’m not going to wait for the judges.”

He did just that, his second straight victory since returning to middleweight, where he’s feeling much better. As opposed to 170lbs. “The whole fight camp, everything is about making weight at welterweight.” The experience, overall, “it’s miserable.”

“Even when I get in there for fight night, it’s not fully me,” Cummings said of the chore of making welterweight. “I’m still recovering from the weight cut, I feel sluggish, I feel slow. I feel big and strong in there, but I just don’t feel I got the speed for some of those smaller guys.”

In contrast, “I’ve got the speed, I’ve got the power, I’ve got the strength and the wrestling” at middleweight, Cummings said. Which has allowed him to be a more well-rounded fighter. Or at least show that he’s been one all along.

He also feels that, at middleweight, he can stay a little more active. “My problem about welterweight was I always had to have a full blown camp to make weight. I couldn’t really take short notice fights. All until I got to the UFC, I was busy, I was fighting all the time. I know I’m getting older, but I’m thinking now at middleweight, I can be a little more active.”

A date on the San Antonio card could be an option — Cummings is originally from Texas, and still has family there. However, first, he needs to get a nasty cut picked up in the Giles fight cleared.

Speaking of Giles, Cummings was happy to get the prospect as an opponent. Zak certainly isn’t the type who needs any type of beef to prep for a fight.

“I’d much rather fight someone I respect,” he explained. “This is very much of a sport for me. Has nothing to do with bad upbringings and all this stuff. I love this sport, so when people don’t treat it like a sport, it kind of rubs me wrong a little bit. So when I get those opponents that are very respectful, they’re athletes, they’re in here for the sport and the competition, that’s what I want to face.”

“Trevin was that. Tons of respect to him,” Cummings added. “Being a huge prospect, he is 2-0 in the UFC, takes a little break, goes off and joins the police academy, I am very very pro law enforcement, so tons of respect for him. I’m a new father myself, he’s the same thing, so nothing for respect for the man.”

Watch the full UFC Rochester post-fight press scrum with Zak Cummings above!

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