UFC: Tony Gravely Reflects on Debut Loss, Tries to Keep Training Creative During Pandemic

Tony Gravely, UFC
Tony Gravely, UFC Raleigh Weigh-In Credit: Bryson Hester/Cageside Press

UFC Bantamweight Tony Gravely joined the promotion via the Contender Series last year, and is currently coming off a debut loss to Brett Johns at UFC on ESPN +24 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

While Gravely prepared as best he could for the fight, circumstances heading into it were not what any fighter would want for their debut. Tony discussed his Fight of the Night loss to Johns and gave me an honest assessment of what went down that night. “I feel like I went into that fight and I wasn’t 100% me as far as like some personal reasons. I try not to make excuses ya know I did the best I could with the me that I had. However, I had a coach that passed away in November and it was a lot different not having him leading up to the fight. I had a couple of little annoying injuries that really tested my mental side of things.”

Fighters may battle through injuries, but the close of a coach is another matter. As far as the actual in cage fight Gravely is disappointed with what he did not do. “I didn’t initiate the grappling but I also didn’t disengage the grappling either when I probably should have. There were times on the feet when I was tagging him more and I didn’t keep it there.”

Extra nerves, however, weren’t a factor despite UFC Raleigh being his debut. “I can’t say it was different, it was definitely different but when you go out into a fight as far as mentally preparing the only difference is the outside,” the bantamweight said. “It’s all perspective and at the end of the day it’s all the same when you’re locked in a cage”. 

Gravely explained how frustrating things have been during the coronavirus pandemic as he prepares for his next fight. “It’s frustrating. I can’t stand to lose, the best thing is to get back to training and go get a win. In the past I could get a fight and dig myself out of that mental hole but its something I obviously can’t do right now so its more mentally draining.”

Gravely has been allowing his body to heal up and has been trying to take full advantage of sleeping in and allowing his body to heal during the down time. However, he has still been training. “I have been trying to be creative, going to the park getting workouts in at the playground, trying to mix it up and going for a lot of runs.”

Gravely is excited to step back into the octagon and notch a win sooner rather than later. “I’d like to fight, originally I wanted May, but now it’s hard to confidently get in fight shape so I’m hoping June or July to give myself some time to get rid of my dad bod. I don’t want to get into a fight not feeling 100% and I don’t want people to see me fighting and not giving 100%.”

Check out the full interview below for a discussion of the all time top pound-for-pound mixed martial artists and who would win in the Between Rounds Radio hypothetical bracket created by polling fighters across the country. This begins at 16:10 of the interview.

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