It is a well-known fact that an athlete will encounter trouble at some point in their career. Mixed martial arts carries its share of bumps and bruises for a participant in their push to reach the top. During this rigorous process, losing can play a critical role in their development. It tests a fighter’s capacity for overcoming adversity to become better at handling future challenges.

Undergoing a series of heartaches with two straight losses, UFC lightweight contender Mike Rio has experienced the heavy burdens that come with being a mixed martial artist. It certainly has been a tough pill to swallow, but these lessons only serve to define greater purpose in his commitment and focus to his passion for competing in the UFC.

The Ultimate Fighter 15 gave fight fans a glimpse of the exciting fighter known as “The Wolverine.” Quickly establishing himself as a household name within a short three-month time frame, Rio was finally able to show his potential with an impressive submission victory over John Cofer at the TUF 16 Finale. Rio made a remarkable statement made during the encounter, and his motives became clear heading into the UFC. He was focused on becoming a formidable threat to all his future opponents in the lightweight division.

“My initial goal going into my future fights was to finishing all my fights and not let it go to the judges’ decision,” Rio told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview.

The TUF veteran had set high expectations for himself leading up to his next pair of fights. Falling short of these goals took a troubling toll on Rio in his start in the company. He suffered back-to-back submission losses to game opponents Francisco Trinaldo and Tony Ferguson.

“Going into my fight against Trinaldo, I admit I was a bit nervous fighting in the guy’s hometown in Brazil,” Rio revealed. “In the fight against Ferguson, I feel I did not prepare myself well enough and should have done more sparing rounds in better preparation for that fight.”

Understanding the mental and physical shortcomings that led to his downfall, Rio is dead set on a new path to right the ship. He has invested vast amounts of time in the gym with the assistance of his great fight team at Zen Jiu-Jitsu. His reinvention as a fighter couldn’t be anything short of a life-defining makeover. He is now in a must-win situation heading into his bout against Daron Cruickshank at UFC on FOX 10, and there is no denying Rio’s burning desire to come out on top to continue living the UFC dream.

“This fight is huge for me because if I win, I will stay a part of the UFC,” Rio explained. “Me and Cruickshank are friends, but once the cage closes, it’s all business. Going into this encounter, I want to show my bosses that I belong in the UFC, which I look to do with a spectacular win and putting on a show for the fans.”

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.