The term “must win” is often attached to fights in the UFC where one of the competitors is coming off a loss or looking at a negative record in the Octagon. Though both factors may apply to middleweight Jared Hamman, simply having an opportunity to compete in the ring at all takes precedence over the outcome of his bouts or his future in the UFC.
Hamman recently spoke with Five Ounces of Pain where he opened up about his unique viewpoint on fighting as well as a number of other topics including his match-up with C.B. Dollaway this Sunday night at UFC Live 5 and the decision to drop down a division despite a good deal of success at light heavyweight prior to the move.
“Everybody in the UFC is bigger, and as the sport gains mainstream popularity all the guys coming in the UFC are professionals in what they do. With me, I was okay with the weight I was fighting at. I was never eating crap – I mean, I’m an athlete. I know you don’t win by eating cheeseburgers. But coming from a football background I always tried to gain weight,” the 12-3 Californian replied when asked about fighting at 185 pounds. “But after I had that loss to Kyle (Kingsbury) I had a lot of time to think about stuff just because I had an injury that made me sit out. So I started thinking about a cut and my coaches were talking about it too. I just wanted to be more of a professional at what I do. It wasn’t like I was getting held down or being outwrestled. I wanted to be more dedicated, more focused, and more disciplined. And dropping a weight class I feel like I have.”
“I made an initial weight cut in March just to basically test it out…to say, ‘You know what, let’s see if I can actually do this,’ he continued. “So I did it on my own – dieting, trying some different things and doing research, and I made 185. I did everything like the UFC would do it. Weigh-ins at 4:00, travelling, yadda yadda yadda…everything as close to the UFC as I could including the fight scenario on Saturday. And I made the weight.
“Then the second time around I hired a nutritionist, P.R. Cole, and man…it made such a difference it blows my mind. If I had of known it would be like this I would have done it a long time ago. She’s phenomenal. She’s made it so easy – I mean cutting weight is never easy – but compared to doing it on your own and trying to finagle it, Cole has thoroughly helped me with the weight cut. It’s gone well,” he concluded while pointing out he was only shedding a handful of pounds to make the light heavyweight limit as is.
As far as Hamman’s philosophy on Mixed Martial Arts, and how important wins, losses, or even rankings are, the 29-year old responded outside of the norm while supporting his stance by referring to a serious automobile accident his wife was involved in last week as well as another incident hitting close to home.
“Well, you know what happened to my wife, and I recently read an article about a kid I coached against – a high school quarterback – who passed away, had a heart attack at 27 years old,” Hamman started. “To be honest, my mentality when it comes to this is that you never know when your last fight is. It sounds extreme, but even though I love to fight, I love to battle, you never know when you’re going to get sideswiped and slammed into a divider. You may never fight again, let alone walk again. So I thank God for the opportunity to do what I love to do…to compete. I try to treat every fight like it’s not necessarily my last but I go in there cherishing it. That’s my mentality. People want to talk about rankings and this and that but I don’t really get into that stuff. I just love to fight so as long as I keep on getting fights I’ll keep trying to perform.”
His approach has certainly paid off thus far in his career with eleven stoppages in twelve total wins and back-to-back “Fight of the Night” performances. Hamman will look to build on that success against Dollaway who he feels may not necessarily get the credit he deserves simply because “The Doberman” is seen by most as purely a wrestler.
“Honestly, I think he likes to stand and trade too. He obviously likes the takedown too, has gotten “Submission of the Night” or whatever, but the dude is a fighter – an all around fighter. He likes to bring it, to kick and punch and stuff like that. He’s not a lay-and-pray type wrestler, he’s a fighter. And I like guys like that. C.B. likes to fight, not ride out decisions.”
Another component of Hamman’s success in the ring has to do with his background as a collegiate football player. However, rather than crediting the physicality he endured on the gridiron he cited a different reason as assisting him in the transition defensive star to Mixed Martial Artist.
“When I think about it now, the reason football players like Brendan Schaub and some of those guys have done well is because in football you have to be coachable. Otherwise the gameplan goes out the window and you end up losing, there’s no direction or structure. Like, for me, I always try to listen to my coaches because I need that direction. I need to stay focused on my gameplan the whole time and I think football players are so used to that in their old sport that it transitions well into MMA.”
Nicknamed “The Messenger” by training partner Vlad Matyushenko based on the conversations about life and spirituality they often share, when asked about what “message” he planned to send this weekend Hamman explained, “I’m not about wins or losses – I go out there to try and do the best I can, let the chips fall where they may, so I hope I inspire people to do the same thing. To go out there and do the best they can. That’s all I ever expected from my players when I coached – to give your best every time, that’s all you can really do; to go out there and fight hard, fight strong strong, and give it your all.”
In closing Hamman offered his sincere appreciation to those who’ve helped him get to where he’s at today, saying, “Number one I’d like to give all glory to God and thanks to the UFC to keep fighting. To my coaches, Team Quest MMA where I train a lot, and the guys down at Grudge Training Center in Colorado too. I appreciate the support from the fans and I hope to give a great performance on Sunday.”
MMA enthusiasts can catch Hamman vs. Dollaway during the preliminary portion of UFC Live 5 starting at approximately 5:45 PM EST on Sunday through the organization’s Facebook page. Hamman has finished nine of the opponents he’s beaten via TKO including a handful of heavyweights like Aaron Rosa, Rogen Lloret, and Travis Wiuff.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC