They say a sword is only as good as the man wielding it.

While you won’t find weapons inside an MMA cage, the same analogy applies. The effectiveness of a strike is largely dependent on the fighter throwing it.

Bellator middleweight Brian Rogers grasped this reality over the last year. The four-time tournament participant, having dropped back-to-back decisions to Dan Cramer and Mikkel Parlo, is in the midst of the first two-fight losing skid of his career.

“I’ve had a long time to think about it with how my schedule’s been,” Rogers told The MMA Corner. “They burn at you. Especially losing in the first round [of the tournament]. It sucks, but it’s part of the game. In a way, I’m thankful because I wouldn’t have moved to Colorado.”

In January, Rogers packed up and moved from his native Ohio to train at Factory X Muay Thai/MMA in Englewood, Colo., under the tutelage of Kru Marc Montoya. Now, as he prepares to face off with Adrian Miles in a non-tournament bout at Bellator 119 on May 9 in Rama, Ontario, Canada, Rogers hopes the change will pay dividends.

“The stakes aren’t as big, but you’ve got to win these non-tournament fights to get on the right track and back into a tournament,” he explained. “You have to take out the guys that think they’re contenders, who want my spot. It’s part of the reason I made the move to Colorado. I needed a change in my career.”

“The Predator’s” path to Friday’s fight hasn’t been without its detours. The 30-year-old former teacher was slated to compete at Bellator 113 on March 21 against Gary Tupusoa, but his opponent pulled out of the fight on the day of weigh-ins.

“It sucked, but the thing is, on the regional circuit, it happened several times,” recalled Rogers. “One time a guy no-showed weigh-ins and then showed up Saturday and I didn’t think I was going to fight, but I ended up fighting.

“Then, one time, I was supposed to fight a guy and the day of weigh-ins I got a phone call that he had gotten arrested. It happens a lot more on the regional circuit than people know. I’ve gone through three or four things like this. I was surprised, but it wasn’t my first rodeo, so to speak.”

Although Rogers was unfazed by the series of events that took place earlier this spring, he almost didn’t make the fight himself, albeit for very different reasons. Thanks to a perfect storm of traffic and airline overbooking, Rogers, Montoya and Bellator ring girl Jade Bryce found themselves on a road trip from Denver to Wichita for the event.

“We were on the way from the gym and there was an accident, so we sat in gridlock for like 45 minutes,” described Rogers. “We got to the airport and they said we could make our flight, but our bags wouldn’t get checked in time. So we said, alright, send us and send our bags later. They said they don’t do that since 9/11.

“They had all these different flights throughout the day. We were scheduled to leave at nine or 10 in the morning, and there was an 11, a 12, a one, a three and a four…they were all booked or oversold. I was like, why are so many people trying to get to Wichita right now? They said it was spring break, but no one is going to Wichita for spring break!

“Finally, they were able to guarantee me a seat on an eight o’clock flight, but Marc wasn’t going to be able to go and Jade was having issues with her flight, so we decided to get a car. If I had flown, I might have saved an hour and a half. But I got a speeding ticket along the way! [laughs]”

With his current bout slated for Canada, Rogers won’t have to worry about more traffic violations this time around, but he will be facing an opponent he knows very little about.

“I actually went through a couple of opponents, but it’s been Miles for about two weeks now,” revealed the fighter. “I had never really heard of him until The Ultimate Fighter. I’ve never spent any time down in the south, and he’s from Mississippi. He fought Hector Urbina on the show and he got caught in a guillotine, so I didn’t see a ton from him. From what I’ve seen, it looks like he likes to wrestle and get inside. Training with Alan Belcher, he’s probably got some decent Muay Thai. My training partner, Chris Camozzi, trained with him a little bit, but training’s training and a fight’s a fight.”

After dropping two straight on the scorecards, one might think that Rogers would be gun-shy of the judges, but with his new team behind him, he’s not concerned.

“I feel like I’m much better now,” he declared. “I think I’m perfectly capable of winning a decision. I don’t see it going the distance based on what I’ve been training. Hopefully it’s me winning 10-8 rounds, but you never know.”

Whereas most fighters make bold predictions when they change camps, Rogers is being much more realistic with his expectations.

“I wanted to make a change that was a good fighting change and a good life change. I had always had good experiences with Marc, and it seemed like a good fit,” he said.

“I feel a lot more tactical and technical. I’m not one of those people that will claim to be a completely different fighter or anything. I’m still the same old Brian, but I’m going to be better at how I use my skills. It’s up to me to show that on Friday night.”

Brian would like to thank Intimidation Clothing, Haasz Auto Mall, Spider Tech, RevGear, Factory X, Smokey’s Dyno & Performance, Crow’s Auto Body, Executive Tailors, DTC Tailors and Cruz Combat. Follow Rogers on Twitter: @BRogthePredator

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