There are several ways fighters hype themselves up to get prepared for a fight or to find that extra gear needed to push through to a victory. For Alonzo Menifield, imagining Askar Mozharov being racist toward him was the key to scoring a first round finish at UFC Vegas 56 (see it here).
During the post-fight presser, Menifield says during the heat of battle, Mozharov was busy trash-talking him throughout, mocking the lack of power in his punches. At one point, Menifield says “The Ukrainian Conor McGregor” got disrespectful, prompting him to turn it up another notch. What really put “Atomic” over the edge was when he put it in his own head that Mozharov thought of him as a “monkey.”
“In all honesty, when I was fighting this guy in the fight he was talking like, ‘I don’t feel that. That’s soft.’ And then he started talking to me in a way that was disrespectful. So, you know, the gangster came out, old school.
“So right there and then I was like, ‘Okay Alonzo, he is trying to throw you off this grappling thing. So you know what, I am going to grapple and wrestle him more. And yeah, that’s kind of why I was so crazy,” he added.
“Honestly, I told myself, ‘He thinks you’re a monkey.’ Seriously. I know it’s kind of crazy, but he is from Ukraine and me knowing what I know, it’s a mindset. So I was like, I am going to stick to this grappling and I am going to show him that not only am I powerful, tough and can hit hard, but I am intelligent. And that’s what I showed them.”
So to be crystal clear, Mozharov did not actually call Menifield a “monkey,” it simply seems “Atomic” needed to vilify his foe in his own head to take it to the next level inside the cage.
With the win, Menifield gets back in the win column and moves to 3-1 in his last four outings inside the Octagon, getting him one step closer to a possible spot in the Top 15. As for Mozharov, the loss snapped his three-fight win streak and spoiled his chance of making his splash in his UFC debut after what was a rather controversial lead up to his big moment.
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