Kevin Natividad caught the eye of many UFC fans in July of 2020 when he picked up his fourth consecutive victory under the LFA banner. The organization is a proving ground for many fighters on the fringe f the UFC and for Natividad it was no different. With the win, he joined the likes of Ryan Spann, Eryk Anders, Ian Heinisch and Ricky Simon as some of the fighters to sign with the UFC after competing for the promotion.
Natividad would taste defeat for the second time in his career against Miles Johns on October 31. Although initially it was a tough pill to swallow, the loss allowed the Hawaiian an opportunity to reflect on what led to the success in his early career.
“When I first started fighting, I didn’t care about the end result,” Natividad told Cageside Press. “[In my UFC debut] I put all this pressure on myself to win. I got knocked out last time which is one of the worst results you can have for a debut. At the end of the day it wasn’t even that bad. I’m here now, I feel good and I’m ready to fight.”
Despite owning a 9-2 record with six finishes, Natividad’s confidence took a hit with the defeat. This led to him seeing a mental coach which has made a huge impact on his outlook.
“I see [my mental coach] every Monday. I talk to him about everything, and we do a lot of mental exercises,” shared Natividad. “[In the John’s fight] I was thinking about the what ifs heading into the fight. Since I was thinking about then rather than the now it was giving me anxiety. I have to be here right now and control what I can control.”
Focusing on the present has been key for Natividad heading into this fight and he is prepared to display that on fight night.
Kevin Natividad returns to action this weekend at UFC 261 in Jacksonville this Saturday. Natividad is expected to face Danaa Bategerel on ESPN and ESPN+.