Dakota Bush (11-4 MMA) ran his winning streak to three after a unanimous decision win over fellow UFC veteran Jordan Griffin at Iowa Fight Series 1 on Oct. 21.
Bush, released from the UFC after an 0-2 stint, also took unanimous decision wins over Ivey Nixon and Josh Streacker.
Bush gave himself a grade of C+ on his win over Griffin.
“I really think I should have got him out of there and I just didn’t capitalize on the moments,” Bush told MMASucka. “I had three or four opportunities where I could have finished him but just couldn’t get it done. He’s a vet. He’s been around the game. Those guys are hard to put away. Controlling-wise, I thought it was my normal, ‘Get the back and you’re not getting away from me there.’ But I want to be able to finish these guys. That’s how I’m going to get back into the UFC. I’ve got to start putting these guys away.”
There’s no shame in not finishing Griffin: Griffin himself went 1-4 in the UFC but was not finished by any of Dan Ige, Chas Skelly, Youssef Zalal or Luis Saldana.
“Hairy” Bush said the eyes are on him as he tries to get back to the UFC, but he said he needs to perform better than his win over Griffin.
“The UFC vets and the caliber of guys I’m fighting are hard to put away, but you’ve just got to find a way to get it done,” Bush said.
While Bush said the UFC is “definitely” where he wants to be, he would consider the right offer from the PFL.
“At the end of the day, [the UFC] is the top of the top,” he said. “It’s the pinnacle of the sport. I know I can compete there and I want to prove it to myself and to all of my supporters and followers, as well. But yeah, PFL as well. I would love to fight there and have a chance to fight for a million dollars. That’s life-changing stuff right there. At the end of the day, I want to fight in the UFC.”
Bush finds himself in the position of waiting for a UFC or PFL offer or taking another regional fight. He plans to fight again in February or March at the latest if nothing good comes beforehand. He just found himself on a layoff spanning over a year.
“Nobody would take a fight. We went through like 37 guys who all declined it. I feel like it’s going to be hard to get another regional fight.”
Of the 37 fighters Bush says turned a fight with him down, around eight to 10 were UFC veterans.
Bush recently started training at American Top Team in Florida, as he did his last camp at the famed gym. But he plans to move himself and his family from Missouri to Florida so he can train at the super-gym full time. He feels his skills will progress much faster by training at ATT primarily.
“I’ll go down there for six to eight weeks and I’ll grow exponentially. The times that I’m gone at home, these guys are continuing to grow at a much faster rate than me so I have to catch back up. Once I’m there, I’m not going to have to catch up. I’m going to stay at the same learning curve as all these other guys.”
Bush said he plans to enter each fight with “everything” he’s got.
“My family’s been eating sh– for so long for this not to pay off … I’m doing everything right. You can expect exciting fights out of me. It’s going to be somebody’s going to sleep or somebody’s getting absolutely one-sided worked in the fight. Any fight anyone’s seen of me, I’m there bell to bell. Whether you’re going to finish me or not, I’m there for 15 minutes.”
Since Bush’s UFC release, he feels he’s gotten better at being patient and comfortable in the cage, as well as controlling his emotions.
“Realizing, ‘Hey, you don’t have to get these guys out of here in the first minute. You’ve got 15 minutes to work. Things will open up, and you’ve just got to take advantage of those openings.’ I think that’s where I’ve gotten the most improved since I’ve been out. I just think, another fight, I’ve got to force in a little more damage and finishing rate over the control. I like controlling the guys and keeping the fight where I want it, but I think I need to open up a little more.”
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