Though he hit the first road block of his two-year MMA career in 2018, bantamweight prospect John Douma feels like the year was important for his development.
Coming off his first loss in June, Douma has made adjustments in how he prepares for fights that he feels will pay dividends when he returns to action.
“My last fight was a bit of a hiccup, but I took a chance to fight the No. 2 guy in Nevada (in Adam Acquaviva),” Douma told MMAWeekly.com. “I made some mistakes and I learned from them. I think the whole year was a big learning experience.
“As much as it sucks and as much as it will be a stain on my record forever, but there are some things that I’ve grown to become grateful for. With this time I’ve had off, I’ve had time to learn. As much as it sucks, I’m going to take as much good from it as I can and improve.”
While some things have changed since last year, Douma feels like some of the things he’s been working on for years are just as beneficial as the alterations he’s made.
“Even before I started training for my pro debut, I started training with some high-level guys,” said Douma. “Guys like Rob Font, Joe Lauzon, and even Cowboy Cerrone and Joe Schilling came to our gym.
“Just seeing those high level guys and having it in front of you, you can kind of replicate better and kind of understand the finer things – the little, tiny, mistakes you make. It’s the details, the little, little, details that I’ve picked up through doing that, which you wouldn’t be able to pick up any other time. It’s helped me grow a lot in that time since I turned pro.”
On Friday, Douma (3-1) will look to get back on track when he faces Mike Kimbel (2-0) in a main card 135-pound bout at Bellator 215 in Uncasville, Conn.
“I’ve just go to fight (Kimbel) and fight my fight,” Douma said. “I don’t think Mike’s better than me. I’ve got to stay me in there and do everything that I do.
“I think I have a little more fight in me than he does. I can gut things out a little more. I think he lacks in that department. I think my training and the depths of my fight career is a lot greater. I think a lot of people are going to come to a lot of realizations after this fight.”
While getting a chance to fight for Bellator is a step forward for Douma’s career, the most important thing for him is to find the kind of stability that can make MMA a full time job.
“I’m a diesel mechanic, plus I’m doing this, so I have no life,” said Douma. “The goal since I’ve started is I just want to fight. I want to make enough money to make a career at it. If I can stay with Bellator and make a career out of it, that’s what I want to do.”