On the night of Friday, March 24, Jake Lindsey will put his rekindled passion for mixed martial arts up against Aaron Highfill in the main event slot of Shamrock FC 286 in a welterweight scrap.
30-year-old Lindsey (11-6) wanted to square off with former UFC fighter Bobby Voelker so badly, he said that he told Shamrock FC that he would have taken that fight for free.
While he didn’t get that fight, Lindsey’s passion for the sport is miles ahead of where it was during and immediately following his UFC tenure.
“I didn’t get over my first loss in the UFC for about two years,” Lindsey told MMASucka. “Not being able to forgive myself allowed me to lose more.”
In a back-and-forth fireworks contest with Jon Tuck, Lindsey was forced to tap after a heel kick to Lindsey’s ribs debilitated him. As Lindsey said following the bout, his lower back began to spasm during the third round and became too much to bear during the finish, per MMAJunkie.com.
Lindsey was consequently stopped by two tough opponents in his next and final two UFC bouts against Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Joe Duffy.
“If you look at my performances in the UFC, they were shit,” he said. “I trained so hard for so long. I’ve waited so long for opportunities like the UFC, I thought I was done.”
That’s a stark contrast to how Lindsey recently said that he would fight for free. So, what motivated him to re-discover his love of MMA? Lindsey credits a photo that his friend and training partner David Rickels has of himself in the gym.
“Rickels had a picture of himself losing with a quote on it that said, ‘Don’t Let Defeat Ruin Your Taste for Victory,'” Lindsey said. “It summarized what happened to me in the UFC in a bad way. It affected my love for the sport. I’m over that now. I’m ready to go back to the UFC and I’m ready to perform.”
Lindsey’s goal to return to the UFC begins on Friday night against Highfill, who he described as a tough guy, but a stereotypical bruiser. Lindsey believes his experience against tough UFC-caliber opponents will help prepare him for Highfill, whom he said is tough and will pose a fun fight. Lindsey is confident that he’ll emerge victorious, however.
“He’s going to be really easy to counter-strike,” he said. “I’ll kick his ass. There are various things I can do to him in MMA. I’ll time my takedowns right and bully him against the cage. There’s nothing he can do about it. Whatever he does, I’m going to counter it.”
The Manhattan, Kansas native’s mental state is better than ever heading into Friday’s main event slot. A weakness that he admitted once cost him losses in the cage has been re-forged into one of his sharpest weapons.
“My morale now is awesome,” he said. “My confidence is great. I get to step into a main event slot against a tough guy on a week-and-a-half notice. I know how to perform, I’m over the slump of, ‘Oh my God, I lost.’ It’s easy to bounce back. I can either cry about a loss or be positive and think about how to perform better.”
Ahead of making his Shamrock FC debut, “The Librarian” is hoping to string together a few solid performances to put himself in a position to either head to Bellator or re-join the UFC by the end of 2017. In the short-term, Lindsey was “enthusiastic” about signing with Shamrock.
“I want to fight a lot and fight tough guys, and Shamrock was on the same page as I was,” he said. “They’re just concerned with putting on good solid fights and putting on a lot of them. We kind of clicked.”
Lindsey, in a moment of candor, described exactly how he felt about the sometimes tumultuous relationship between a fighter and the sport of MMA.
“It’s a fucking marriage, man. There are going to be ups and downs and times you don’t want to be in it, but you have to stick it out.”
Based on Lindsey’s current positive outlook ahead of his date with Highfill, it’s easy to say that he’s currently on an “up” phase.