Newark, NJ — Heavyweight Parker Porter knew his back was against the wall heading into UFC 288.
On the last fight of his contract and with two consecutive losses, another setback could have spelled disaster. But Porter (14-8) picked up an early TKO finish of Braxton Smith, quite possibly saving his job in the process.
“I was feeling a lot of pressure. I was on a two-fight slide leading up to this fight, this was the last fight of my contract. So this one was for all the marbles, man,” Porter told media outlets including Cageside Press following the event in Newark, NJ. “It’s about as close to home as I’ll ever get, I drove down here only two and a half hours from where I live. First time ever of now seven fights that my wife and my mother got to be in attendance in the building, to actually be here first-hand. This was a huge occasion for me. Huge, momentous, I put a lot of pressure on myself more than anything. And my team really helped me put that pressure in teh right direction and channel it properly.”
Ask if he feels the UFC will now opt to re-sign him, Porter, who came into the fight noticeably slimmer and trimmer than ever before, wasn’t sure — but was leaning towards the positive.
“I dunno, I think I’m feeling pretty good about it,” said Porter, noting that one of his recent losses was to Jailton Almeida, “who seems to be virtually unstoppable.” The other came against Justin Tafa, “I’m not taking anything away from him, but I made a mistake and he caught me.”
In terms of what comes next, Porter didn’t have a callout ready, just a location.
“I don’t have any names in particular, but I would love, love, love to be on the Boston card coming up in August. That’s another close to home fight, I really kind of enjoy this, being close to home, being able to have friends and family literally in attendance. I like this. I would love that Boston card.”
Much like the rest of us, Porter was amazed to hear that opponent Smith had only recently joined an MMA gym, self-training all the way to the UFC.
“That’s incredible. For him to make it to the UFC being essentially self-trained for all of his fights, and now he just joins a gym, just now as he gets to the UFC? That guy’s probably going to be here for a while. He’s got nowhere to go but up.”
Watch the full UFC 288 post-fight press conference with Parker Porter above.