UFC: Mirsad Bektic explains how loss to Darren Elkins motivated move to Tristar

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With an impressive record of 6-1, Mirsad Bektic finds himself at a highly ranked #7 spot. The only setback he has ever had was against ranked contender Darren ‘The Damage’ Elkins at UFC 209 back in March 2017.

Bektic dominated the fight for 12 minutes leaving Elkins in a pile of blood. However out of no where, Elkins tagged Bektic with a right hand and a head kick to floor him thus wining the fight via TKO. The fight is considered by many as one of the best comebacks in the history of the sport.

Bektic however took this loss in a positive manner. He went back to drawing board to change few things including his long time beloved camp ‘The American Top Team’ in Coconut Creek, Florida. Bektic did agreed that he had to gather an immense amount of courage to reveal this decision to the coaches.

“The fight with Elkins made me better in so many ways, even as a human being,” Bektic told MMA Fighting.

“As a fighter, it gave me a completely different experience. Up until that point, I hadn’t really met an opponent that could drag me into the trenches. Elkins is a serious dude and he’s beaten a whole load of good guys. By being in there with him, it’s almost like I took some of that experience from him and applied it to myself.

“If that loss hadn’t happened, I doubt I would have moved out to Tristar. I’m just really grateful for that experience.”

“Leaving American Top Team was no easy task at all for me. It’s not like I just arrived in Canada one day. ATT did a lot for me. When I was 20 years old, they gave me an opportunity to train full-time and they bought me food too while I was in that five-year contract with them. I was incredibly loyal to them, but it was just one of those things where it wasn’t working for me. It was very hard thing to do and it took a lot of balls to walk away from the team.”

Bektic then visited teams all over the U.S. in a quest to find to find out a new training ground. However Bektic felt home outside U.S. when he visited Montreal to try out Firas Zahabi’s Tristar which serve as a training ground for many fighters a including the former double weight champ Georges St-Pierre. It didn’t took more than a training session for Bektic to understand that Tristar was a place to be.

“It took me a long time to finally make the move. I just went around everywhere training with lots of different people. I trained with Jordan Burroughs, Terrence Crawford, I went out to Tristar, I went out to John Danaher’s and I was with Duane Ludwig in Colorado. It wasn’t like I was trying to find my new gym when I did that. These were just things that I really wanted to do for a long time, so after that loss I went and did it,” he said.

“Honestly, I wanted to find answers to why I lost. There was a simple answer at the end of that for me. The Elkins fight was feedback for me, it was a blueprint for a lot of things. It took me a while to get over that, but now that I have I’m just going to keep going forward.”

“I was very impressed with Firas from our very first session. I was impressed with what he wanted to do with me, as an athlete and for my career — it really intrigued me. Out of all the people I talked to, he seemed to have the best direction for me. It was beautiful. I believed in him and now I believe in myself more than ever,” he explained. “That being said, there’s still a lot to learn. Top-10 competition is a lot different than top-15, so it’s going to require a lot from me, but I’m up for it.”

“I was very impressed with Firas from our very first session. I was impressed with what he wanted to do with me, as an athlete and for my career — it really intrigued me. Out of all the people I talked to, he seemed to have the best direction for me. It was beautiful. I believed in him and now I believe in myself more than ever,” he explained. “That being said, there’s still a lot to learn. Top-10 competition is a lot different than top-15, so it’s going to require a lot from me, but I’m up for it.”

The results since then speak for themselves as Bektic is 2-0 since then with a win over highly ranked contender Ricardo Lamas.

“It’s more suited to me. I love the people here. Outside of the gym, there’s a lot of diversity here and that’s something that really appeals to me too. The vibe in the gym is amazing. There’s just so much experience, so much knowledge and a whole lot of feedback. It’s a very humbling place,” he said.

“I just took a class today after being away for a week and it’s always the same. You always learn something every time you’re on the mats. I feel like I always take something away and I want more of it, it’s awesome.”

Read also:

MMA: Firas Zahabi to boxers: “Fight our best, you won’t last one minute!”

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