Just two years into a mixed martial arts career, very few fighters would be confident that they are ready for the big show and have the resume to back it up.

That’s what makes Lance “The Party” Palmer unique. At 25 years old, the featherweight has a plethora of wrestling credentials to tack onto his perfect 6-0 record. Now, as the Team Alpha Male product prepares to battle Jared Downing in the Resurrection Fighting Alliance 8 co-main event on June 21, Palmer is happy with his progression.

“I think I’m where I want to be based on how far I’ve come and the fights that I’ve already won,” he told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “Going into this fight, I feel like I’m more than ready for the opponent that I have. I’m definitely making strides. I feel like I’m in a perfect position just two years into my career.”

Palmer hasn’t always been so upbeat about his evolution as a mixed martial artist. In fact, despite winning in his last RFA outing in November of last year against grappling ace and WEC veteran Fredson Paixao, Palmer was not thrilled with his performance.

Palmer (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“It was kind of a slow fight and it wasn’t a great fight on my part,” the Ohio State alum admitted. “I waited for him to react and start my offense. I gave him respect, but I gave him too much respect.”

The performance against Paixao netted Palmer a split decision win. Even with victory in hand, the bout proved to be a valuable lesson for the young combatant.

“You never want to leave it in the hands of the judges,” he proclaimed. “I didn’t think it would be a split decision by any means. That was what I was most surprised about. It’s frustrating; I felt I controlled the entire fight.

“Even watching it afterwards from an unbiased perspective, I didn’t see any positions where he won the fight. He cut me in the third round, but I didn’t see that as him winning. Next time I will try to land more punches from the top and pass the guard.”

Since the fight with Paixao, Palmer and his Team Alpha Male stablemates have been joined by new striking coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig. Ludwig not only brings the experience of competing in the UFC, but also K-1—where he has faced some of the best strikers in the world over his lengthy career. The addition of Ludwig has already been evident in the performances of Palmer’s teammates, Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes and T.J. Dillashaw, but Palmer is excited to showcase his new tools.

“I owe a lot to Duane already. He’s changed my stand-up game completely in the six months that he’s been here,” Palmer explained. “He’s a great coach and a great human being to be around. He’s always upbeat and brings a lot of energy to practice. He’s been a perfect addition for me and the rest of the team. I think he’s helped me the most because I was the least-formed stand-up guy of the team. He took what I was doing right and added tenfold to it. It’s been awesome to say the least.”

However eager Palmer might be to test out his refined striking skills come Friday night live on AXS TV, he’ll do so against a hard-nosed champion that has a propensity for going the distance and has never been finished. Armed with four-time All-American honors during his collegiate wrestling career, Palmer is confident that he can outwork Downing and take his belt.

Palmer (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

“From what I’ve watched on him, if I put the pace on him and pressure him, I don’t think he’s going to give me much of a fight,” said Palmer. “I know that he’s a grinder and he likes to try to out-tough guys, but I don’t think he’s going to do that to me. If I fight my fight, there’s not much he can do.”

Going one step further, Palmer believes he’ll not only capture the RFA 145-pound strap, but he’ll do so in a decisive manner. He hopes that being the first to stop Downing will go a long way toward his ultimate goal of getting to the UFC.

“One way or another, I’m looking for a finish in this fight,” he declared. “I know that’s what the UFC wants from the fighters that they bring in. They want guys that can finish, even in big fights. If it does go the distance, I’m ready for five rounds, but when I play it over in my head, I don’t see it going the distance.

“I don’t see myself losing this fight. This is a great stepping stone to take myself to the next level.”

Brimming with confidence, Palmer isn’t getting too far ahead of himself. After making that mistake once already in his short career, he knows that there’s still work to be done even with a win over Downing.

“It’s not clear cut whether this fight will get me to the UFC or not,” he stated. “I don’t like to look past anybody. I think I kind of did that with Paixao because I wanted to get the win so badly. This time I’m definitely more focused on the task at hand.

“The UFC takes who they want, when they want, so I’m taking it one fight at a time. It’s all about getting better and being ready by the time that I do get there.”

Lance would like to thank Defense Soap. Patino Diets, Striding Networks, MMADraft.com, PinnedMovie.com, VA Mortgage Leader, CF Athletics and all the people that have followed and supported him from his wrestling career to his MMA career. Follow him on Twitter: @LancePalmer

Top Photo: Lance Palmer (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)