In the fight game, motivation shouldn't be hard to come by.
Normally, it's not. But, sometimes, it's nice to have a few extra factors to push a fighter to perform his best. If amateurs fold under pressure, stars thrive on it.
When veteran Scott Smith climbs inside the cage tonight (July 30, 2011) against prospect Tarec Saffiedine at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois for Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Henderson," he'll do so with his back pressed firmly against the wall.
That's because he's not only the veteran who has certain expectations that come with that but because he's lost his last two fights ... in spectacular fashion, no less.
One more and it could be the locker for him.
Plus, no veteran of the sport wants to be a veritable stepping stone for a prospect with intentions of taking over the game. Especially one who disappointed in his most recent outing.
Tarec Saffiedine is the prototype of a mixed martial artist a promoter would love to push to the sky. He's a good looking kid with a fight style that appeals to the masses.
But his skills are still questionable when held up to more intense scrutiny.
After building up his profile for a few years, "Sponge" was placed in a main event fight against fellow rising star Tyron Woodley on a Challengers show, a fight it turns out he wasn't ready for.
The Belgian buttkicker says he learned his lesson, though, and the nerves that plagued him in that bout will have no effect on him here and in the future.
What didn't kill him only made him stronger.
Naturally, we'll get to see if that's the case tonight when he squares off against Smith. It's a perfect match-up for Saffiedine, one that plays directly into his hands and is timed perfectly for where he is at in his career right now.
The veteran and the prospect, the story will be told before the evening is up.