Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall takes to the cage Friday night for yet another semi-final fight against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in the UFC’s flyweight tournament. Their original fight would have gone to a sudden victory round had it not been for one of the Aussie judges in that fight, who apparently miscounted after having one too many giant Foster’s beers. Instead it was ruled a win for Johnson, until Dana White glumly told the post-fight press conference that indeed mistakes were made.
The only fair thing to do was do it again, so McCall and Johnson will step back into the cage to right all wrongs and determine just who will take on Joseph “Beefcake” Benavidez for the inaugural UFC flyweight championship.
As the saying goes “familiarity breeds contempt”, and that certainly appears to be the case between the two 125 pound combatants. But while it’s clear he’s a bit agitated, McCall does his best to take it in stride.
It is annoying to a point. I think it’s gotten to both of us, I definitely know it’s gotten to him. I mean he talks about how much he hates my mustache and he wanted to punch a baby with a mustache or something weird like that. It obviously takes a toll on you, but at the same time I’m getting paid twice to beat up somebody that I know I can beat, so I can’t really complain about it.
One thing that won’t be a problem in the second fight is any uncertainty about Johnson’s skills. Having to fight three hard rounds against an opponent, then fight that same opponent again with little turnaround in between gives one a sense of what to expect. If anything, McCall’s confidence is only boosted by having matched Johnson before and learning both his strengths and limitations.
I wasn’t surprised, I knew he was fast. Actually, I was surprised that he wasn’t as strong as I expected him to be. I was surprised in my favor. I don’t see him changing or getting any better at anything within three months. I think he showed me everything he has to offer.
McCall’s confidence is spurred in part by the path that has led him to the UFC. A bittersweet symphony of tragedy and triumph, McCall has taken his lumps and seen the worst that life has to offer outside of the cage. So much so, that the confines of the octagon almost seem like a welcome relief from the previous pain he has had to endure. Not unlike Jason “Mayhem” Miller, who claimed that fighting was “the only time an ADD kid like me gets to focus”, McCall’s sense of calm is enhanced by the honesty and gravity of the situation of being locked in a cage and matching skills with one of the best in the world.
I’ve been through a lot in my life and nothing really bothers me. Especially when I’m focused, I’m nice and mellow. I’ve spent a lot of my life being amped up and crazy – just causing trouble. I guess a piece of that comes out of me when I fight. I get off on the attention, I get off on imposing my will and trying to hurt somebody. I hate to sound weird, but I have issues. I fight for a living and I clearly enjoy punching someone in the face. I’ve pushed the limits pretty far in my life. I died from a drug overdose and was brought back, I’ve crashed cars at high speeds, I put myself in a coma snowboarding. I’ve done a lot of ridiculous things and I look at is this way – I’m on borrowed time. I’m here obviously for a reason and there is no point getting worked up over silly things.
That sense of zen will follow McCall into the cage Friday night where he hopes to take one step closer to being recognized as the UFC’s first flyweight champion.
Listen to the full interview with Ian McCall on MMASucka Radio - MMASucka Radio w/ Daniel Junge, Demetrious Johnson & Ian McCall