Witnessing his wife’s battle with breast cancer put his own battles in perspective, Misha Cirkunov told reporters at UFC Vancouver.
Vancouver, BC — A lot of athletes in Canada’s Misha Cirkunov’s spot coming into UFC Vancouver might be feeling the pressure. The light heavyweight has lost three of his past four fights, most recently a thirty-eight second knockout loss at the hands of Johnny Walker.
Not Cirkunov (14-5), though. He’s calling his bout Saturday with the undefeated Jimmy Crute “just another fight.”
“I did obviously a lot of work. prepared for it really really hard. I’m just going to do my thing,” he said in way of explanation, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press at the UFC Vancouver media day on Thursday.
“I’m not trying to think about all the pressure. I should do this, I should do that. What of this, what of that.” Instead, he plans to “just go in, and play MMA.”
He admits that, in the past, perhaps he did feel the pressure. “Sometimes you do overthink, sometimes you try new things, sometimes you change your training.” But, as he pointed out, “changes always happen. That’s just part of the game. You’re trying to get better. You’re trying to learn, you’re trying to experiment. If you don’t do that, it’ll be hard to progress. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, and that’s what I’m trying to do now.”
It’s hard, however, to find a silver lining, or learn much from a loss as quick as one to his one to Walker. “That one was a difficult loss because we didn’t even fight, kind of. Everything happened so quick. Just got dazed, and that was it. It’s really hard to think about it, but it’s part of the game. It’s part of the game, and the hard you fall, you want to make sure you bounce right back up.”
However, “I’m trying to learn from it,” he said. “Try to be more alert, more relaxed, faster. Maybe more cautious as well.”
Cirkunov’s life, in a way, has been a learning experience so far. His wife has gone through a battle with breast cancer, shocking given the couple’s young age (Cirkunov himself is just 32).
“To hear that kind of news at our age, it’s not just disappointing, it’s kind of scary at the same time,” he said. “Because we’re healthy, we don’t drink, we don’t smoke. It just shows you that it can happen to anyone really.”
“It’s a nasty thing. We went through a really weird, nasty time,” he said of the dark period that saw his wife battling the deadly disease. “But luckily she was able to beat it. She’s cancer-free now, and we just enjoy living.”
His wife’s battle against cancer put his own career in perspective. “A little bit. You just, it’s hard to, when you have big big things in your life happen, and you have to deal with not one thing, but maybe two different things, it definitely adds pressure. I’m just happy that time is over.”
Opponent Crute is coming into UFC Vancouver undefeated, but spoiling that record isn’t really something Misha Cirkunov is focusing on. “He has a great record, but as we know in MMA, anything can happen. My main thing is not to concentrate on his record, but concentrate on my skill. And make sure that my skill is more superior than his.”
Watch the full UFC Vancouver (UFC Fight Night 158) media day scrum with Misha Cirkunov above!