Saskatchewan’s own Mitch Clarke came into the UFC as one of the hottest lightweight prospects in the country. He was riding a nine fight winning streak coming into his UFC 140 match-up with John Cholish. He was stunned by a barrage of punches in the second round to force referee John McCarthy to stop the fight.
In his last outing, he dropped a split decision to Finnish striker Anton Kuivanen at UFC 149 in Calgary. Following the fight, he was extremely emotional about losing the fight in front of the Canadian fans, stating that what hurt the most was his “heart.” He revealed during his post-fight interview that in the very first round, in fact within the first 10-seconds he blew out his knee.
MMASucka spoke with Mitch Clarke this week about his disastrous 2012 and what 2013 will bring.
Clarke has his home gym in Edmonton, but has been spending his training camps with UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona. Throughout the rehabilitation process, Clarke has kept in constant contact with his MMA Lab trainers and they have been supportive through the whole process.
“My training camp gym is definitely The Lab, I talk to [John] Crouch several times a week and they’ve been super supportive this whole time during my injury.”
As far as a return goes, Clarke still has quite a bit of rehab to go through, but is confident that a late spring or early summer return would be ideal.
“I have to go to dynamic sports physio therapy 3-days a week and the chiropractor once a week, as well as doing my own exercises everyday. I wear a brace when I teach classes and when I have to sit for prolonged periods cause it swells a lot. I Hoping to get on a late spring or early summer card and fight one of the Brits from TUF Smashes.”
When asked why the beef with the TUF Smashes guys, Clarke was quick to answer and state that the Brits “can’t really wrestle” and the stylistic match-up would be perfect for him. The first name that went through my mind when he told me this was TUF Smashes winner Norman Parke, however that was not his first choice.
“I hung out with Norman [Parke], but I’d fight him, Colin Fletcher. I was eying up Mike Wilkinson. The British can’t really wrestle, or grapple like we can in North America, so stylistically it’s a good fight. Especially since I’d have like a 6 inch reach advantage.”
“I want to fight Wilkinson because he’s a borderline dwarf.”
A win would get “Danger Zone” back on track in the lightweight division. Being in the 155lbs division would ultimately leave him in a place of discomfort, as at the top of the heap is his training partner Benson Henderson. Everyone has heard teammates say that they would never fight each other and this seems to be the case for Clarke as well.
“I would never fight Ben, the beatings he gave me everyday were terrible as is, but combined with the fact he’s the nicest person I’ve ever met (MMA related or not) would make it hard. I know I can’t fight teammates. I’m pretty soft spoken most of the time and I need to get fired up to fight someone. Fighting someone I know is hard enough, fighting someone I respect a lot and trained with would be even harder. I know Crouch and Ben treat the gym like a family and I just can’t fight family.”
2012 was a year that Clarke would like to forget and 2013 will hopefully be one to remember.