UFC 130: Matt Hamill blogs on what it's like to be a deaf fighter

via www.fighters.com

In advance of his UFC 130 main event fight against Quinton Jackson on May 28 in Las Vegas, Matt Hamill took to Sportsnet.ca to blog about his life and how he got to this point.

"The Hammer" is unique in that he was born deaf and somehow manages to compete at the highest level as a mixed martial artist in the UFC. How does he do it? He explains:

People assume that it is hard for me to compete as a deaf fighter, but this is all I've ever known. I don't know any other way to fight, and so I've learned to adapt to my environment. Whereas some fighters get weighed down by the advice of their cornermen during a fight, I am in a position where I can receive advice in between rounds and then relax and carry them out for the five-minute rounds. I don't panic or worry if things are going wrong and I don't hear the shouts and screams of my cornermen. It's all on me, and I like it that way.

I remember during Round 1 of the Reese Andy fight (December 2008) I was really struggling to find my groove and things weren't looking great for me. I then got back to the corner and realized Duff Holmes, my coach, was going crazy at me and was really disappointed with the way I was fighting.

Even though I couldn't hear the expletives he was shouting at me, I could pick up his mood and emotions. I then ran out for the next round and stopped Andy. I just needed somebody to pull that inner animal out of me. Once it's out there, nobody can stop me...

Hamill has very quietly amassed a five-fight winning streak, although an asterisk may be necessary due to one of those victories coming over Jon Jones via disqualification. Before the DQ, the Ohioan was getting manhandled.

A win is a win is a win, though, and the records show the amateur wrestling champion hasn't lost a fight since Sept. 2008. His steady rise up the light heavyweight ladder will culminate in two weeks when he throws hands with Jackson.

Can he bring out his inner animal and take out the former 205-pound champion? Or will "Rampage" hit beast-mode and send him back down the divisional standings?

Sound off!

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