Brian Houston got the chance to see all the glitz and glamor of the UFC.
However, he failed to get his hand raised on either instance, dropping bouts to both Derek Brunson and Trevor Smith.
Houston isn’t about to give up on his dream of becoming the best, though. Instead, he’s ready to re-focus and stick to a better training program in hopes of making it back to the “big leagues” in the near future.
“It was the best thing for me to get in the UFC so early,” said Houston, during a recent interview with FightLine. “Now I know I can make a living and I know I belong in the UFC.
“I needed this obstacle in my life. It’s leading me to my goal here on Earth.”
Transitioning to MMA from football
Houston, a former Hampton University football star who also shined in track and field, turned pro in 2012 and won his first four fights – three of which were finishes. That came after three 2010 amateur fights.
After playing indoor football in Omaha, Nebraska, Houston had to make a choice: continue trying to excel on the gridiron, or venture into the world of MMA.
“I was going into the new season and the coach told me I might not get a lot of playing time,” Houston said. “I didn’t feel like being a practice guy, so I made up my mind that I was gonna do (MMA) full-time.”
Houston was coming off his first amateur victory, a decision over Jeff Souder, and the decision was made for him.
“I just quit at that moment and dedicated my mind, as well as my body, to fighting,” he said. “I never looked back after that.
“I knew I could compete and do well, I just never knew how good I would be. Honestly, I still don’t. The things I want to do are evolving every day into something more effective with a base of creativity.”
Learning to work hard in the training room
Houston has taken it upon himself to become a “gym rat,” something he frowned upon while competing in multiple sports in high school and college.
“I was lazy to say the least,” he admitted. “All I wanted to do was compete and party. I did really well in football my senior year (at Hampton), and won the MEAC decathlon and got second in the javelin…I just hated the offseason with a passion.
“I relied heavily on my athletic ability, but never did any extra. I was super lazy in high school; I was never dedicated to anything in my life until I started fighting.”
He is perfecting his game at American Top Team in Florida alongside countless UFC and MMA greats. In fact, Houston laughed and responded when asked about his training partners, saying “I could name drop, but that would take a long time.”
Reflecting on a tough loss to swallow
Houston’s most recent fight was a split decision loss to Smith, and it still pains him to see footage of the fight to this day.
“I felt I had the fight won, but was nervous being that I ‘let it go to the judges,'” he said. “I controlled the standing for the first three minutes of the fight and took him down once. He didn’t get a takedown until 1:30 left in the round. He didn’t do anything except transition well. Other than that, I was in no danger.
“He also didn’t hit me with anything clean. They gave him points for punches I was actively slipping or let roll off. He really wasn’t effective on the feet and I countered his kicks with punches and a takedown. I clearly won the second.
“In the third, you could say he threw more punches, but they were so sloppy. I saw everything coming from the locker room. I hit him with more effective strikes but he got a few knees in. He threw combos and every punch missed, but he was getting credit like it did something. They (the commentators) wrapped a bow around some dog crap.”
Houston continued, saying he felt the scoring was used “according to USA Boxing rules. You know that’s amateur, not pro scoring. The more I watch it, the more upset I get. It’s still my fault for not finishing him like I should have.”
Despite the rough exit, Houston is keeping a look towards the future with high hopes. He is looking to book a fight in the soon on the regional scene.
“As long as I stay in the gym and learn, I will be beating a lot of high-level guys,” he said. “I’m hunting stars with this iron I’ve been sharpening. Solar stars can be destroyed by the iron element.”
Front-Page Photo Credit: Joshua S. Kelly