McBride motivated after loss in debut

WEBSTER CITY – Michael McBride lost, but he wasn’t defeated.

In the cut throat world of mixed martial arts, where mental anguish can sometimes be greater than any physical pain endured in the Octagon, it’s a key point to make. And so the 30-year-old Webster City native and newest member of the UFC will go on, confident that his story is far from over.

Jumping up to the biggest of stages on just nine days notice, McBride lost for only the second time as a professional Saturday night in Cleveland, Ohio, as veteran Nik Lentz scored a second-round TKO during the preliminary card for UFC 203.

Lentz (29-7-2), a college wrestler at the University of Minnesota who has 17 fights in the UFC under his belt, was able to take the back of McBride and get both hooks in before raining down punches on a defenseless McBride in the final minute of the second round. The referee jumped in and stopped the fight at the 4:17 mark.

“I 100 percent gassed out,” McBride, who missed the mandatory lightweight limit of 155 pounds by three pounds and subsequently was forced to hand over 20 percent of his show money, said. “I would say it happened at the end of the first round. The bell rang (to start the second round) and it was time to stand up and I did not want to stand up. But I wanted a third round and I knew it was getting close, so I was trying to hold on. But it was a good stoppage because I wasn’t defending myself.”

Known for his regimented training and endurance, McBride admits that the short lead-up to the fight took a toll. He wouldn’t put an exact number on how much weight he was forced to lose in a little over a week – other than to say “it was more weight than I would normally be comfortable with” – but it was obvious the lack of a training camp hindered what he could accomplish.

“I’m sure it was a combination of the weight cut and the short notice,” McBride said. “It’s not even a disappointing loss … it is what it is. The only thing disappointing about it is I feel like if I had even a decent camp, I was a better athlete than him and I could have beat him.”

After a difficult first round in which Lentz imposed his will and controlled from the top position for a lengthy period, McBride was able to land a right hook that dropped his opponent just 35 seconds into the second. McBride quickly jumped on the back of Lentz, but was unable to keep control.

“That was the beginning of the end,” McBride said. “I got excited and jumped on him and already in my mind I was thinking the fight is over. But I got out of position; I should have stayed patient and worked the position longer. Once he got back to his feet, I was just so tired.”

Still, the UFC rookie wasn’t completely overwhelmed. Even one of the most knowledgeable of MMA minds could recognize his potential.

“I’m really impressed with his defense,” longtime UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said during the FS1 telecast of the fight. “He knows what he’s doing, no doubt about that.”

McBride was medically cleared after the fight and other than being sore he says no lasting punishment was inflicted. He must serve a mandatory 30-day medical suspension, but he’ll be back in the gym this week to begin preparations for future fights.

And the UFC is where he will call home.

McBride was given a four-fight contract by the sport’s prized organization – a fact that trumps everything that happened in 9 minutes and 17 seconds on Saturday.

“Yeah, I lost, but I got a contract out of it,” McBride said. “(The UFC) had reached out to a ton of guys in the division and nobody would take it just being short notice and it being a dangerous opponent, so they were super thankful.

“The UFC said they were going to take care of me.”

And so McBride moves on with a decisive path that he wants to travel down when it was only a few weeks ago that he was ready to walk away from the sport.

“I had come to terms with it and I was OK with it. I wasn’t moving forward in my career and, I don’t want to say I had given up, but I’ve got other goals and my family is the most important thing,” he said. “When the baby came (McBride and wife, Jeana, welcomed a new child last month), it was kind of like finalizing it. I was cutting back slowly more and more on my training.”

McBride had accomplished everything he could at the local level. There was only one phone call that could re-energize him and it came just in time.

The dedication has returned and one fight won’t define him.

“I’m back,” he said. “Starting (today) I’m back to the gym full go.”

McBride doesn’t know the who, when or where questions regarding his career that will undoubtedly pop up. But he wants to fight sooner rather than later.

“If I’m healthy, let’s get something on paper because I don’t want to sit on a loss forever,” he said. “Whenever they tell me, I’ll be ready.”