UFC Vegas 53: Natan Levy Still Carries Mindset From Early Training in Japan With Him

Las Vegas, NV — Securing his first win inside the octagon at UFC Vegas 53 was Israel’s Natan Levy.

Lightweight Levy (6-1) went through a three-round war with Mike Breeden, winning a unanimous decision in a fight that might have been up there for Fight of the Night on a card that didn’t feature Marlon Vera vs. Rob Font.

Following the bout, Levy spoke to media outlets including Cageside Press backstage at the UFC Apex, touching on the struggles he went through leading into his UFC debut one fight prior.

“It’s really been a mental struggle for me. There were a lot of times, I think every fighter, you doubt yourself sometimes. You don’t know if you made the right [decision], bad decision. Even if you’re undefeated as I was, there were a lot of setbacks on the road,” explained Levy. “Lot of speed bumps, but no road blocks. After losing, I did feel in the last fight that I belonged, I fought a really high level fighter in Rafa [Garcia] that was 12-0 before he got to the UFC, Combate champion, and I think I gave him hell. But on the other hand, I didn’t get that first debut win, and that’s another thing in your mind that haunts you sometimes.”

Comparatively, Levy felt he had a good performance at UFC Vegas 53 on Saturday, “as far as the two first rounds go. Third round, I had to really dig deep. I got tired, maybe trying to finish him too much in the first and second rounds. I wasn’t overzealous like I was in the Rafa fight, that’s a lesson I learned, trying to throw bombs all the time and show how powerful I am. I don’t need that to win a fight.”

The left hook was one attack that seemed to be there all night for Levy; he had actually expected his jab to be the punch that was there for him.

“I train I think every technique under the sun. I thought that jab would land more, it happened to be the two, but it was the straight two. Me and my coaches worked on it a lot of course. The body kick, the head kick, I was looking to implement more leg kicks. But sometimes you see something happen, and it doesn’t work out that way.”

Levy, the lone Israeli fighter currently on the UFC roster, trained in Japan as a teenager, and the mindset he developed there is something he still carries with him.

“Training in Japan for me, for me, it’s like who I am. I bring it, I bring the Dojo in Japan to everywhere I go, in America, in Israel,” Levy explained. “It’s discipline, it’s something else, maybe I don’t use the moves anymore as much, but the mindset is always there. It’s who I am. The hardest time I ever had in my life was living in Japan. I trained there when I was 16, when I was 18, just a kid. I didn’t even have money to eat, training there for months. That’s something that made me who I am.”

After the win against Breeden, Levy announced in his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping that he would auction off his Fight Kit to support holocaust survivors. Levy expanded on that later in the night.

“This week was Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. If we would take six million Jews who were murdered, and a lot more people, if you would take one minute of silence for every Jew that was murdered we would have to be silent for 11 and a half years,” Levy told Cageside Press. “What they went through was horrible, some of them survived it and are still here today, and whatever we can do to support them, and bring attention to it— there are many causes that are worthwhile, for me this is the cause that I see right now.” Levy knows that, as time goes on, survivors of the holocaust will not be here forever. “There are a lot of other causes that are important, but holocaust survivors are very old— they’re not going to be here forever to tell their story, and to remember those who are not here.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 53 post-fight media appearance from Natan Levy above.