I never view myself as an underdog going into any fight. Even if the odds have me as an underdog, I can't let that play on my mind. It means nothing. Being an underdog or favorite isn't going to make me fight any better or worse. You've got to forget all that and just focus on the task ahead. I know how good I am and how good my opponent is, and I can guarantee that I know more about this sport than the guys who determine underdogs and favorites.
So, it comes as no surprise to learn that a lot of people are backing this kid Rory MacDonald to defeat me on Aug. 6 at UFC 133. I'm sorry, but I'm not letting a kid who still gets ID’d stand in my way of getting a welterweight title shot. A lot of these kids get a lot of hype built around them and they receive a lot of praise through potential rather than any real achievement. John Hathaway was the same, just before I beat him at UFC 120 in October. John was a very talented fighter who had just beaten Diego Sanchez, and many people expected him to just walk right through me in his hometown of London. It never happened. Instead, I went out there and dominated him for three rounds. The crowd went silent as a library and John lost his unbeaten record.
People acted surprised by what happened, but let's look at the facts for a moment. As talented as he may have been, John had never beaten a welterweight in my league up to that point. I was a better fighter than John at that stage and was also far more experienced and those experiences made me tough.
When Hathaway tried grabbing a hold of me in the first round, the kid grabbed on to a grown man and ended up getting his ass whooped. He finally knew what he was getting into as soon as he felt my man strength in that first minute. Suddenly he wasn't messing about in the paddling pool no more.
I knew right off the bat that I had Hathaway's number, and nobody could tell me otherwise. I don't give a damn if he was favorite or the best thing since King Kong. I have eyes -- and I know mixed martial arts. I watched his videos, I studied his style, and I knew it would be a straightforward win for me. Nobody believed me at the time, but I knew I was right.
Hathaway and MacDonald are two completely different fighters with completely different styles, but their prefight hype is similar. Both are highly thought of and both bring lots of attention with them. That's great for me, though, as everybody will expecting big things from Rory, only for me to then walk in and upset the applecart, just like I did with John in London. These guys are doing the hard work for me.
The UFC like to build stars and they like to invest a lot of time and effort in these young kids coming through. It makes sense and I get it. What I don't understand, though, is why anybody would think the likes of Hathaway or MacDonald can use ME as a stepping stone to the next level. That will never happen in a million years. I am not the guy you want to face if you're carrying that kind of hype and expectancy with you.
Let's be honest, I was winning fights when Hathaway and MacDonald were rushing home from junior high to play with their Pokemon.
I've put in the work, the time and the blood, sweat and tears, and yet these kids think they can come into my office and beat me at my own game. It isn't ever going to happen. While these young fighters were leaving school and wondering what they wanted to do with their lives, I was already fighting in rings and cages up and down the country. They were thinking about doing it, and I was out there busting my ass and actually doing it. I've paved the way for these kids.
Regardless of age, I feel that I'm a much better fighter than MacDonald right now, and I'll prove that on the night. MacDonald will be in there with a bigger, stronger and more experienced fighter and he won't know what to do. I'm going to break him …