At the age of 38 most professional mixed martial artists are contemplating retirement, however former UFC middleweight Kalib Starnes is looking to resurge his career and find a way to get back to the big show.
This past Saturday night was the start for Starnes as he made it back to the win column at AFC 18: Mayhem. He was able to put the pressure on David Perron and eventually pick up the TKO victory in the second round.
The win snapped a three-fight losing streak for the Ultimate Fighter vet. His three losses however were to no slouches as he fell short to Patrick Cote (Ringside 10), John Salter (AFC 6) and Joe Doerksen (AFC 11).
The always modest Starnes felt his 13-8-1 record was not the greatest, but he admitted to MMASucka.com that he is having a tough time finding fights.
“I’ve been looking for a fight for seven-months. I don’t have the greatest record, but there are not a lot of people that want to fight me.”
The former TUF competitor was always a well thought out fighter who utilized game plans to a T. This was no different in his fight against Perron, as he use the first round to wear him down and baited him to throw obvious punches which set up the eventual end to the fight.
“I saw him knockout a guy before. He looked like he had pretty explosive hard punches and just the build that he has is kind of wiry. I thought that if he hit me early on that he could hurt me. So I thought I’d grapple with him in the first round to make his arms tired and then when he came out in the second, he came out kind of aggressive and I felt like he was throwing really predictable offense. I just stood there and thought that I’ll just block it off and then wait for him to tire out a bit, then press him forward and that’s what I did. He wasn’t looking to take me down, so it was a decent strategy.”
In just over a month’s time Starnes will move up to heavyweight, which is two weight classes above his natural 185, to take on another former UFC fighter Tim Hague. Many would think he’s crazy to take on a heavyweight, but as mentioned above he is having a tough time finding opponents. So he told Darren Owen, the President of AFC that he would fight anywhere from middleweight all the way up to heavyweight. He ultimately got his wish – landing two fights in a matter of weeks.
“Find me a fight at middleweight. I told them I’d fight at 205 or heavyweight or middleweight, like I said for seven months. This fight was the first one that happened and the only reason it happened was because Andrew Buckland pulled out of the fight with three weeks or a month to go.”
“I dropped down to 186 for this fight and am already up to 217 tonight.”
The Surrey, BC native is not getting any younger, but he still has fight left in him. He fought five times inside the UFC’s Octagon and went 2-3. Many fighters are cut due to severe losing streaks, however Starnes was let go because of a performance that left many wondering – against Nate Quarry. At UFC 83 Quarry chased Starnes around for the better part of three rounds and by the latter part of the third round he even began mocking him because of it. In his defense, Starnes revealed after the fight that he broke his foot in the opening round and didn’t want to risk getting hurt by the heavy handed Quarry.
One would think that a fighter who was ridiculed the way he was would never want to get back to the UFC, however he has different plans. The fire seems to be re-ignited beneath him and he is looking for a way to get back at ‘er. Starnes has a stable of younger fighters living with him, which has forced him to push the pace in his training.
“I would like to get back to the UFC and I guarantee you I would fight like I did in the second round of this fight.”
His next step to get back to the UFC will be on July 5. 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta as Starnes will take on Hague at AFC 19.
(Photos courtesy of Shane Deringer)