When Ultimate Fighter Season 6 winner Mac Danzig faced Matt Wiman the first time it was the middle of last year and both men were coming off successful showings against solid opposition. However, what was started off as an excellent bout between two up-and-coming lightweights ended in the blink of an eye when referee Yves Lavigne mistakenly thought Danzig was unconscious and called for the fightâ€™s conclusion.
The 20-8-1 Danzig has only fought a single time since then, knocking Joe Stevenson out at UFC 124 this past December with a few other pairings since then laid to waste as the result of an injury.
Now, with a second shot at Wiman this weekend as part of the UFC Live 6 lineup, Danzigâ€™s mind is in a more positive place than it was before and, according to the 31-year old Californian, could make the difference in Saturday nightâ€™s showdown.
â€œIâ€™ve gotten older, and Iâ€™m confident in myself and my abilities. I wasnâ€™t so sure before. I know Iâ€™m tough and I know Iâ€™ve been doing it for a long time, but I struggled with self-doubt for a long time,â€ explained Danzig in an interview on the UFCâ€™s website â€œNow, itâ€™s like â€˜All right Mac, you donâ€™t have to worry about whether or not youâ€™re good enough; you know youâ€™re good enough, you just have to show it.â€™â€
â€œThatâ€™s the whole thing,â€ he continued. â€œInstead of being like â€˜Man, I know Iâ€™m good, I think I can beat these guys,â€™ I know I can, itâ€™s whether or not you perform in the fight. A lot of people only perform in the gym. Iâ€™ve not necessarily been a guy like that. Iâ€™ve been someone whoâ€™s performed well in the gym and well in the fights, but there hasnâ€™t been a huge discrepancy. And now, Iâ€™m just starting to realize that Iâ€™m good at this, so have some confidence. And I do, and I know Iâ€™m good enough to have a really good run in this division and good enough to completely turn everything around and get an awesome winning streak going. Itâ€™s (about) believing in yourself. When you have to skills to back up the belief, then the skyâ€™s the limit.â€
Now, self-belief in tow, Danzig is prepared to right the wrong of his previous meeting with Wiman even if it means losing in the end.
â€œObviously Iâ€™m not satisfied with anything but a win, and I donâ€™t think any fighter should be, but that being said, Iâ€™m happy to have a chance to do it right, the way itâ€™s supposed to be done,â€ he began on the topic. â€œIf heâ€™s like some amazing submission fighter and heâ€™s good enough to beat me, then so be it, but let it be in a fair fight where I get a chance to do what I trained all these weeks to do. Iâ€™m looking forward to getting an opportunity to fight this guy the way it was supposed to be the first time. I feel like Iâ€™ve improved since then, and I feel like heâ€™s improved since then as well. I feel like heâ€™s a very confident fighter right now, but I think thatâ€™s going to play into my hands.â€
Wiman vs. Danzig will open up the Spike TV portion of the UFC Live 6 broadcast with other main card bouts including Pat Barry vs. Stefan Struve, Anthony Johnson vs. Charlie Brenneman, and of course a headlining title-fight between bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz and top contender Demetrious Johnson.