Las Vegas, NV — Lightweight Clay Collard has come close in previous PFL seasons, only to be dealt disappointing setbacks.
Ahead of his return at the 2023 PFL 3 card this Friday, however, Collard (21-10, 1NC) is treating his fight with Yamato Nishikawa as a fresh start.
“Water under the bridge, man. Last year, the year before are both controversial decisions in my opinion,” Collard told media outlets including Cageside Press during Wednesday’s PFL 3 media day. “The one with Raush [Manfio], unanimous, you’ve got to be out of your mind. So yeah, it’s water under the bridge. I’m focused on this year, I’m focused on Nishikawa, and I’m focused on winning.”
A split decision loss against Alex Martinez bounced Collard from the season last year; he has not competed since.
“The fight game is a tough game, you’ve gotta have a tough skin. Martinez is an awesome individual, I have no animosity towards him,” said Collard. “It was just a fight, the judges made the call. It happened, it was tough, but I’m here today and I’m focused on being in the present and winning now.”
In preparation for his return this Friday, Collard switched up his entire fight camp, from coaches to training partners. “I’m completely revamped, I’m completely focused on this year, and I feel like I’ve improved tremendously. I’m ready to go out there and I’m ready to take this year by storm.”
There were “a lot of reasons,” for those changes, Collard noted, but he summed it all up as “I’m trying to be bigger, better, badder.”
After so much time off — the Martinez fight took place in June of 2022 — Collard also gave some insight into his mindset.
“Hard times create hard men, and I’m one hard man right now. Body’s feeling good, mentally I’m probably stronger than I’ve ever been before. I’ve dealt with a lot more controversy and things leading up to this year, so I feel unbreakable.”
Watch the full 2023 PFL 3 media day appearance by Clay Collard above.