On May 25 at UFC 160 in the biggest fight of his UFC career to date, James Te Huna’s four-fight winning streak came to an end when he suffered a blemish to his record at the hands of a high-caliber fighter. A first-round submission loss to a fighter who hasn’t tasted defeat in over eight years isn’t exactly something that is going to land a fighter in the unemployment office, but it will help them realize what they need to work on for their next outing.

Each time that the Australian-based fighter enters the Octagon, fans around the world question his ability to withstand grappling in order to keep the fight where he is considered to be at his most dangerous. Glover Teixeira used this to his advantage against Te Huna. Fans (and Te Huna) wanted to see a tit-for-tat exchange on the feet exchange, but Teixeira delivered with what he does best and took the victory.

“I was a little bit bummed after the fight,” Te Huna revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “It wasn’t like the fight before that at all. I had the perfect camp and we did all the right things leading up to the fight.

“In that last week before the fight, I was getting asked all these questions about whether I’d stand and trade with him, and I think I got caught up thinking it was going to be a brawl. He sucked me into thinking that it was going to be that way. I went in there expecting one thing and got something completely different. I guess I forgot about the ‘MMA’ part to the fight [laughs].”

Having a vision of how a fight is going to play out can offer two very different outcomes. It can see a fighter enter the fight with an immense amount of confidence which can lead to a win just how they had envisioned it. Or it can be a dangerous way to enter a fight, with no room for the unpredictable nature of mixed martial arts.

“I went in there and just pictured landing one on his jaw,” Te Huna explained. “As soon as [the submission loss] happened, I thought, ‘It isn’t supposed to go this way.’ [laughs]. It made me a little bit happy that one of the most feared strikers in the division didn’t wanna trade with me and that he didn’t wanna bang it out. We were pretty confident going in that I was gonna finish this one.”

Teixeira had gone into the fight against Te Huna riding an 18-fight winning streak, and it was no secret that the matchmaking team of the UFC was struggling to find opponents for the dangerous Brazilian. After making it public that he wanted to fight a top-level opponent, Te Huna received the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I was told a lot of people were offered that fight and didn’t take it,” Te Huna explained. “I took the fight that nobody wanted. As soon as they offered it to me I was like ‘Fuck yeah, I want that fight!’ I want to beat the best guys. I think at some point he even said he was going to knock me out, so I just had a totally different picture to how the fight was gonna play out. He definitely won the mental side to this fight too.”

In the lead-up to his outing at UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. MacDonald, Te Huna revealed that he had gone through one of the worst fight camps that he had ever experienced. Learning from his mistakes, Te Huna enlisted the help of Australian boxing icon Danny Green to assist in the preparation for his UFC 160 bout. Green has had his fair share of success, boasting four world championships in three different weight classes and a professional boxing record of 33 wins with just five losses.

“He is one of the greatest guys ever,” Te Huna said. “He helped me throughout the whole camp. He helped me with mental toughness, which I struggled with in the fight before this, and he helped me to stay on track throughout the whole camp. He’s been through it all with boxing. He’s one of the best fighters that Australia has seen, so having him there was great. He’s been at the top of his game before, and he really helped me with the fight prep. I did all the right things for this fight and I have no excuses at all.”

With only 12 weeks between his past two fights, Te Huna doesn’t have any immediate plans to return to action just yet, but when he does get his opportunity to fight again he knows that an exciting fight is what he needs to get back into the mix against the best fighters in the light heavyweight division.

“I’m happy to wait a little bit now. I took two fights back to back, so I wanna take a couple of months off to spend with my family and then start to work on my weaknesses a bit more. My goal is to fight in Sydney if they do it at the end of the year. It’s always good to get a fight at home. I’ll take anybody above me that’s in the top 15,” he exclaimed. “I just want to go in there against someone that can put on an exciting fight for the fans.”

Te Huna’s loss at UFC 160 opens up the chance for him to work on the “mixed” portion of his martial arts game. With no injuries and plenty of time to focus on his weaknesses, there is no doubt that Te Huna will redeem himself in the famed Octagon once again. And who knows, maybe in December when the UFC makes its much-awaited return to Australian shores, we may just get to see that brawl we were all hoping for.

James would like to thank PC Cranes, Corporate Electrical Group, Boost Mobile, Nutrition Station, Competitive Edge, Pain Away and Shogun Martial Arts. Follow Te Huna on Twitter: @JamesTeHuna

Photo: James Te Huna (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.