“I’m a competitor,” Herrig told MMAjunkie in Chicago, while fulfilling guest-fighter duties for this past Saturday’s UFC 225 event. “I want to win. I was on a four-fight winning streak. I wanted to keep winning. I wanted to get a title shot.”
But at the same time, Herrig knows what the split-decision loss was simply it: a loss. Like the ones she’d had six other times throughout her almost decade-long pro MMA career. And if losing has taught her anything, is that it can make you a better fighter.
“I know how to work my way back up,” Herrig said. “Not to use (former UFC champion Ronda Rousey) as an example in a negative way, but somebody like a Ronda – (she) was so used to winning, so dominantly, and didn’t necessarily know what it felt like to lose. She kept winning and winning in dominant fashion.
“All the respect to Ronda, all the respect to her in the world. But then she loses two fights, and then she’s done. My story is just different. There are peaks and there are valleys, and it’s just like life. In anything, if you fall down, are you just going to lay there and die and quit?”
Still, “it sucks.” Herrig (13-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) wanted to win the fight. She thought she could win the fact. In fact, should a rematch with Kowalkiewicz (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) happen, the first try was so close that she sees no reason why it couldn’t end differently.
“I don’t feel like she’s necessarily better than me,” Herrig said. “I’ve never wanted to say, because people always say, ‘She was better than me on that night.’ But I also feel like close fights like that, too, it’s just like – different set of judges, or just switching something up a little bit, you know? Maybe, it could have been a split decision the other way.
“Maybe, it could have been a unanimous decision the other way. Not taking anything away from Karolina, either, because she did beat me. She beat me. But do I believe I could beat her? Yes, I do believe I could beat her.”
In any case, the loss to a top-ranked ex-title-challenger hasn’t translated to a chip on Herrig’s shoulder. Whatever doubts people still may have had, Herrig believes she has mitigated with the consecutive wins over Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish and Cortney Casey – the majority of whom she met as an underdog.
“I’ve beat girls that I ‘wasn’t supposed’ to beat,” Herrig said. “I’ve beat girls that maybe the UFC was trying to build and looking at me as a veteran with all this experience and all these fights, that would be easy to, like, ‘that would be a good name to beat because she’s so experienced.’ I’ve already proved everything.”
Herrig has never been one to disappear from the gym off-camp, so she’s been training. But with no fight in sight. After so many years, some of which saw Herrig fighting for $ 2,000 purses, she now has the luxury of simply hitting the gym and evolving without the pressure, be it mental or financial, to get back in the cage.
There’s also the fact that her gym is currently in the process of moving and won’t be done until September. It’s hard to think in terms of ideal timelines in the UFC, where phones can ring with tempting offers at any moment. But, though she plans on returning before year’s end, Herrig is simply not in a rush.
“If an opportunity was presented to myself, I would work around things and make it happen,” Herrig said. “But being smart, now would not be the time for me. And you know what, the last two years, I’ve been in a fight camp during summer. And I want to enjoy the summer a little bit. I think there’s nothing wrong with that.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: No chip on Felice Herrig's shoulder following Karolina Kowalkiewicz loss: 'Already proved everything'