All around the world, people, in a drunken haze, scream out their New Year’s resolutions on Dec. 31. It’s not until they wake up the next morning with a hangover to end all hangovers that a lot of them come to the conclusion that their resolution probably isn’t going to come to fruition.

Others take to Facebook when the calendar year turns over to alert the masses that the upcoming year is going to be the year of change, or that they will meet their resolution by the time another year rolls around.

It wasn’t the turning of a calendar year that possessed the UFC’s James Te Huna to embark on a new challenge in 2014. Instead, it was a loss that saw him laying on the mat in the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with a legend of the sport screaming in his face.

“It was a pretty embarrassing loss, and last year was a pretty bad year for me,” Te Huna admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I had a lot of issues going into my fight in London, and we tried to work some things out in my time off between fights. And then there was that embarrassing knockout to finish the year off. This year, I am excited to take on a new challenge and take on a drop to middleweight.”

Throughout a fighter’s career, it’s not that uncommon to see them chop and change in weight divisions. However, when a fighter has called one division home throughout their whole career, it’s going to mean a new learning curve in all aspects of their game.

“It’s about making a fresh new start and taking on a new challenge, and I know I’ll be able to make middleweight,” Te Huna explained. “Middleweight is probably a bit more of a natural weight for me. Right now, I am always eating so that I can stay up at light heavyweight. I’m one of the lightest guys at light heavyweight, so I know that if I eat normally I’ll be able to hit middleweight. I’ve been fighting at light heavyweight for my whole career, but I think that this challenge is the right move.

“I’ll do a couple of practice cuts to make sure I can make the weight and it doesn’t affect me. So, I definitely don’t see myself fighting within the next three months. I just need to make sure I can do it and I can fight at the weight. I think it’s the right thing for my career, and I’m looking forward to what the new challenge is going to bring.”

After posting back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, Te Huna did a lot of reflecting on where his career would be headed next. After a disappointing 2013 campaign that saw his four-fight winning streak come to an end, as well as the first knockout loss of his career, it’d be easy to throw it all in and call it a day on his 23-fight career.

“I’ve never thought of quitting after a loss. Sure, I’ve thought about it while being injured, but I just look at what happened as happening to everybody at some point. In my last fight, there was a lot of pressure on me to win and to do well,” Te Huna admitted. “It’s not too bad for me now, but right after the fight I felt really embarrassed. I have been fighting for 10 years now and really worked my way up and built up my career, and then that knockout just squashes all my hard work straight away. I’ve been knocked out before in sparring and training and it’s a shit feeling, but you’ve just gotta keep on kicking on.

“Everybody gets caught at some point. You know, we’ve seen it happen to guys like Rashad [Evans] and [Cain] Velasquez, and it’s just something that happens. I spent a week in Sydney after the fight and just got my head around everything. I was supposed to head over to New Zealand for an interview with Sky Sports, but I felt really embarrassed and didn’t think I should do it. I went over anyway, and it was just amazing how much support I was getting from everyone, like fans pulling me up in the street and all that kinda stuff. That experience really pumped me up and lifted my spirits, and now I’m looking to the new challenge ahead of me.”

It takes dedication to stick to a New Year’s resolution. That’s something that the vast majority of people cannot attest to achieving. Luckily for Te Huna, though, it’s not so much a New Year’s resolution that stands in front of him. Instead, it’s a brand new start.

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

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.