Every time I fight I hear these questions at least a bazillion times in the week leading up to the fight. When I shrug my shoulders and answer with "not really" or "not yet" people seem taken aback. The truth is I've never been one to get all jazzed up before I fight and there's a few reasons.
- It's counter-productive. Some people think that fighting angry, or "psyched up" is the way to go. That may be true if you think that overwhelming your opponent is the only way you can win. If you have faith in your training, your skills and your game-plan though, getting all "psyched up" is a detriment to clear thinking.
- When your emotional level gets too high you run the risk of an emotional crash when something doesn't go your way; and in a tough fight there are bound to be moments where not everything is going your way. In such moments it pays to have a clear mind and be able focus on correcting the situation.
- Getting psyched up burns a lot of mental energy. It can zap the system as badly as using up too much physical energy before the fight. I often chuckle to myself when I see new fighters with their hands taped and mouthguards in, walking around with angry faces several hours before they fight. Do they know how much work it takes to look that pissed off for that long?
- This is not new. This will be my 8th professional fight. Before that, I had several amateur fights. I've fought overseas. I've wrestled for a National Championship. This fight is important. It does not, however, overshadow everything I've done previously.
This will not be me at weigh-ins.
I'm not saying that I don't get nervous or scared; I do. I've said before that anyone who says they don't is either lying or stupid. You should be nervous or scared. Those feelings you get is your body preparing itself for battle, pulling out those fight or flight (hopefully fight) responses that have been ingrained in our DNA for millenia. If you aren't getting those feelings, your body and mind are not properly prepared to do what you are going to do. I recently heard a quote from Urijah Faber that sums it up nicely. It went something along the lines of "Yeah, I get butterflies; I just make them fly in formation".