Las Vegas, NV – Coming off losing the TUF finale fight against Mohammed Usman, UFC light heavyweight Zac Pauga is back this time to take on Jordan Wright at UFC Vegas 69 on Saturday night.
“Wasn’t the plan to lose to Mohammed, but everything else went to plan. I went on TUF a weight class up just to get in the UFC and here we are,” Pauga told Cageside Press among other media on Wednesday.
Sure he made it to the UFC after all, but losing in the finale still doesn’t sit well with Pauga.
“I mean, it sucked. The immediate feeling after getting knocked out on live television in front of all your fams and friends…it really sucked, but this isn’t my first sport. Like I’ve taken plenty of L’s before so I knew how to bounce back from it,” he said.
Lessons seem to hit harder when they come in a loss, but Pauga knew how to learn the most from his defeat in the TUF finale.
“There was absolutely lessons. Like technical lessons of just keeping my hands up. Coming from other sports you can’t really imagine getting knocked out. I never even had the concept of losing a fight that I didn’t even get a chance to respond to,” said Pauga.
“And now that’s something that’s in my head every time I’m training. Everything I’m doing is with this idea that you only get one chance.”
Moving back down to his natural weight class of 205 pounds wasn’t incredibly difficult, but it still required work.
“I mean I definitely had to clean up my diet. I walked in the cage last time at my natural walk around weight of 245. That’s what I walk around at so I did have to hire a nutritionist, get a diet, but I’m better for it,” he said.
“It makes me a better fighter. It makes me a little bit more pissed off and a little bit angrier. I’m a better fighter, I’m lighter, I’m faster, but it is frustrating. It makes camp different.”
The matchup with Wright is a welcome one for Pauga who prefers a fighter willing to go for the finish.
“It’s an exciting matchup. He is the definition of a kill or be killed fighter. He’s never even been to a third round. I think that plays in my favor,” Pauga said.
“I have a style, specially at light heavyweight, where I’m trying to push him against the wall, grind him out, and him trying to get out of there early is just going to play in my hands”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Zac Pauga above. Pauga takes on Jordan Wright at UFC Vegas 69 on Saturday night at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.