Lyman Good knows what it takes to be a champion.
After all, he was the inaugural Bellator welterweight champion, winning the first tournament back in 2009 before losing his belt to current champ Ben Askren nearly two years ago.
Since then, Good has had to deal with his fair share of adversity, losing a controversial decision to former Olympian Rick Hawn in the season four welterweight tournament.
Good will be competing in the upcoming Bellator season seven welterweight tournament and he's a favorite to win the whole thing. It all starts on September 28, 2012 at Bellator 74 in his backyard of Atlantic City, New Jersey as he competes in the main event against "Judo" Jim Wallhead in the tournament quarterfinals.
"Cyborg" was a guest on Bloody Elbow Radio earlier today where he spoke to yours truly about cage rust, the motivation to get his belt back and the special preparation for this upcoming tournament.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You'll be headlining the upcoming Bellator 74 event on September 28, how does it feel to be featured in the main event of a fight card again? It's been a while.
Lyman Good: I've fought on undercards and I've fought main events before and I think it's just the magnitude of the event and how well you deal with the pressure and that it's pretty much in your hometown and whether or not that will be a factor to my performance. I know in my case that won't be an issue because when it comes down to it, the only people that matter are me and my opponent. It's a good deal in a sense where I'm excited about it. It makes me feel proud that I can make the main event and headline and event, but what matters is my opponent. Come fight night, nothing else exists outside of that cage.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've had to deal with some injuries and delays before this fight. You had the injury before the Dan Hornbuckle fight and you've been a bit inactive. You looked great in your last fight against LeVon Maynard. How does it feel to be healthy again heading into this fight?
Lyman Good: I felt amazing before my last fight and I feel great heading into this one too. I've been pretty much injury free for a while. It was just a string of bad luck with my training. I have a reputation for pushing it too much. There's always that rule that you never go "one more." Once you're done with your training session, you're supposed to be done but I'd always think "one more time, one more time." I've always exceeded and surpassed myself in my training and pushing it further and further and that's a reason I sustained several injuries.
For the Dan Hornbuckle one, I tore my hamstring a week prior to the fight and I felt like it would affect my performance. The other serious injury I had was my shoulder prior to the Ben Askren fight. I had torn several things and had to undergo surgery and that was pretty brutal. I've been injury free and training really hard and feeling in the best shape ever right now.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you feel like the stakes are higher for this fight considering the winner of this tournament will be fighting for the title on Spike TV in 2013, getting a bigger audience?
Lyman Good: Absolutely. I feel like to me, it means more than anyone else in this tournament. Mind you again, if Askren does still maintain his status as welterweight champion by the time I fight on Spike, that would mean my redemption, my revenge and my way of getting back what once was mine. Those other guys, it would be their first time that they're gonna have that opportunity to have that belt around their waist.
I've had that hunger before. I've had that feeling of pride from having the belt before. I think it's great to see that Bellator is making strides and they're doing amazing being on Spike soon. I feel it's more important to me to go back in there and reclaim my place among the welterweights.
Lyman Good: That's a fight I'm excited about, myself. It really winds down to how people fight Askren. I think people go in there with their expectations, their predictions about how the fight is gonna go without really knowing the level of wrestling that Askren goes out there and portrays. They think you can go out there and swing for the fences and hope you get a knockout but until you actually go out there and have fought Askren, have felt his pressure, his strength and you know why he is as high class a wrestler that he is and that he's earned his status, you just have no idea. Everyone thinks they'll be the first person to take him out.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): There have been a couple fighters in tournament recently where all they talked about were the champs. Marlon Sandro, all he talked about was Pat Curran and Travis Wiuff, all he talked about was Christian M'Pumbu. Is that something you're more focused on, the championship, the end goal instead of the beginning? What's your focus like right now?
Lyman Good: You can't go step up a ladder and immediately be at the highest tier of the ladder. You've got to take it step by step. I think if you focus on the wrong thing, you don't prioritize on what's directly in front of you, the next person you're gonna fight, you dilute the focus. I think it's great to have that mentality where you're thinking of the champion, knowing what you're working towards, but to have that precede your next bout, that means you're looking past your opponent which is an error. That's a mistake you can make, the first mistake, not focusing on your opponent first.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You talked about your experience against Askren with the wrestling. What was something you really learned from that fight?
Lyman Good: From the Askren fight? I think the best lesson I learned from that fight was to not hold myself down and not to think too much about the other person's gameplan. I think that was my first error going into that fight. I don't make any excuses for a loss in that fight. I think a loss is a loss if you do your best but I think to focus too much about what the other person is doing, what their assets are and their dangers and not impose your dangers and assets in a fight is what holds back a fighter form performing great. I think that's the best lesson I learned from that fight.
When I go out there, I can't be cautious. I've got to throw caution to the wind. A fight's a fight. You've got to do everything you can to give yourself a winning chance. If you go out there thinking about somebody taking you down or their hands or whatever their gameplan is, it stifles what you bring to the table. From now on, I'm just looking to go out there and trade leather and fight my fight to the end.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about this upcoming welterweight tournament field. There's been a lot of buzz about some of the names that are missing from this tournament, guys like Paul Daley, Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima. Are you surprised that those guys weren't included, that Bellator seemed to be holding those guys back for a big tournament in 2013 for Spike?
Lyman Good: When I was starting to hear those names of guys from the welterweight division, yeah I was surprised that they weren't in it, but then I started hearing about Bellator wanting those names for their premier on the Spike channel so it made sense in a way. Whenever you use the employ of big names, the best people with great records, you want them for your tournament. You want the best. You throw everybody in a dish and see who rises to the top. It seems like Bellator's primary movement is to hold back some of the top guns for Spike and that's fine with me.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you empathize with someone like Jay Hieron, who was frustrated with not being able to get a rematch after losing a title fight? Would you have preferred to get a rematch rather than go through the tournament again?
Lyman Good: You wait your turn in line, know what I mean? Everyone else is going through exactly what Hieron did. I watched that fight and was impressed. I think Hieron did a great job of stifling and nullifying Askren's takedowns and he fought a good fight. But I also know the reason he got that fight in the first place was because he proved himself amongst the ranks of other fighters, he climbed over them to get that title shot the hard way. To get an immediate rematch, that's kind of like skipping the line where other people have to prove themselves to get that rematch.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Are you worried at all about ring rust? You've only fought for 13 seconds in the last year and a half.
Lyman Good: (laughs) Nah, no. Really, you try to simulate the situations in training and you just have people try to kick your freakin ass and try to hurt you and make it real. It's real in your mind as long as your training in those conditions. The things you can't simulate are the crowd, the noise, the lights, but I'm used to that already. The only thing that can affect a fighter in terms of rust would be a major injury or a devastating loss which would sap their confidence a bit. I don't have any ring rust whatsoever.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): When you're simulating the fight against Jim Wallhead in your mind, how do you picture victory?
Lyman Good: By any means possible. I don't play the whole fight prediction thing. The only thing I know is that I'm out there to win. People say "this" or "that" but then they go out there and don't do what they say they're gonna do. In my case, all I know is by any means possible, I'm gonna go out there and win this fight.
You can follow Lyman on twitter @LymanGood.