The UFC Final Countdown
Well, here we are - it's fight week. I'm now only a matter of days away from making my UFC debut at UFC 105 on Saturday (November 14) in Manchester.
The main emotion I have all week and on the day of a fight is excitement. That explains my mindset completely. It's a good feeling. I've trained so hard for the previous 10 weeks; the fighting part is actually the easy part. The difficult stuff is getting beaten up in the gym for weeks on end and putting my body through hell. The actual fight itself is just my platform to show the world what I've been working towards.
On the day of the fight, I usually make sure I have a good Oatmeal breakfast with some protein and some fresh fruit. I then spend most of the day just relaxing and chilling out. I never really do too much, apart from maybe have a stretch early on to get the blood pumping around the body. My mood then switches to focused when I get the call to head down to the fight venue.
I've never had any problems sleeping before a fight. I could sleep on a washing line. I sleep really deep and as soon as my head hits the pillow I'm out like a light. I'm lucky enough to have a good night's sleep on the eve of my fight and then have another sleep on the day of the fight.
Everybody talks about the pressure ahead of this fight, but I'm really looking forward to it. Increased pressure is usually a sign that you're doing something right and I certainly feel that way right now.
Winning The Ultimate Fighter was just a stepping-stone for me. It has given me the chance to appear on a world-class level and I now see UFC 105 as just the start of my career. It's almost like having my pro debut all over again.
It's going to be great to fight on the same shows as James Wilks, Andre Winner and Nick Osipczak again. Every time James and I share a locker room we seem to come out on the winning side, which is a good omen for UFC 105. It feels good to have a lot of familiar faces around you before a fight. I'll be appearing on the same night as Dan Hardy, Michael Bisping and all the other Ultimate Fighter guys, which will be really encouraging.
At the same time, though, this is an individual sport and I'm just here to fight. If I was thrown in the deep end on a Las Vegas show - and I was the only Brit there - it wouldn't worry me in the slightest. I'm here to achieve my goals and I'm in this thing for myself. I respect my whole team and appreciate all the coaches that help me prepare, but I'm very much a one-man band when it comes times to fight. Nobody else can step into that Octagon and help you once the cage doors shut.
Ideally, I'd like to win this fight by knockout on Saturday. That's the approach I take to every fight I have. I know Aaron Riley has never technically been knocked out before, but I'd like to test him out and try for a stoppage in the first round. I think I can win the fight early in an exciting slugfest. I just hope he comes out swinging as I'm well prepared for it.
*** Last tickets for UFC 105 are available now from ticketmaster.co.uk ***