Interview with Austin Hubbard above
Austin Hubbard will return to competition this weekend at UFC Vegas 24 against promotional newcomer Dakota Bush after sitting on the sidelines for eight months. Although many will point to inactivity as a detriment facing a late replacement, ‘Thud’ has spent the time away altering his mental state.
Before the extended hiatus, Hubbard was submitted by Joe Solecki in the first round. It was an eye-opening experience for the Team Elevation product.
“I learned a great lesson in that fight in my mental approach to fight night,” Hubbard told MyMMANews. “Making sure I’m mentally there fight night and everything has drastically changed since that fight.
“I had an injury, had another surgery which is why I had such a long layoff between fights. In that time, I’ve worked with a mental coach pretty much weekly. I’ve been either reading or listening to audiobooks, a lot of them, about mental training types of things along those lines. I just really dove into that area cause I felt that was somewhere I really needed to improve.”
All the losses accumulated to eventually needing to address the issues plaguing the 29-year-old lightweight.
“Not to take anything away from my opponents, they are all great opponents,” Hubbard said. “I just felt like I was having a bit of a mental lapse.
“I just wasn’t starting the way I liked. So I just went and made some changes and fill some holes. Same with training, made some changes and fill some holes. That’s not really an area I’ve ever touched on too crazy much just because I really didn’t have to up until this point. That would be my biggest growing or changing in my UFC career so far as opposed to any injuries or anything like that.”
Coming up on the regional scene, the anxiety of fighting did not affect Hubbard. Once he entered the UFC ranks, that all changed significantly.
“It was a new type of pressure,” he revealed. “The pressure to perform. This is my job. I got to perform to make the money, to make a living, support my family. All these pressures I just kept putting on myself and thinking I had to do things a certain way. I’ve always had really great camps. It wasn’t even that. I would almost get ahead of myself a little bit.
“Now it’s just at a completely different level of involving just fight night and anything beyond there is, you know, not in the picture. So just trying to stay more present-minded type of things. Day by day focus. All things along those lines.”
With much more commitment to every aspect of training and a different mindset to face challenges, ‘Thud’ has some expectations heading into his return to the Octagon.
“A better start for sure,” Hubbard said. “A lot more aggression. Not as much of a hesitation. At least that is what I want and what I’ve been envisioning and been working for. So I think the things I have been doing mentally will definitely help step in that direction for sure.”
South Korea-based combat sports reporter that covers many of the major organizations around the world.