Even before the Koranic novel stopped MMA for much of 2020 for most fighters, for featherweight Canaan Kawaihae, it was only part of a larger layoff since then at the end of 2018.
Fortunately for Kawaihae, he was able to take care of his family because of his off-battle work and continued to float until he could return to battle.
“It was a great rest for two years, but it was also very hard work,” Kawaihae told MMAWeekly.com. “If I did not work financially on the construction, I would have a problem because of Covid and everything. That was a blessing.
“I have the opportunity to fight again. I was inspired to see all the Hawaiians fighting in the UFC and my teammates fighting, they made my blood boil again and I wanted to go back to the fire. “
When Kawaihae enters the cage for his first competitive race since December 2018, he feels that fans will see a completely different athlete than he was then.
“I’m definitely not the same fighter I was then,” Kawaihae said. “I gained some weight from the construction work. I feel that I have matured physically and mentally.
“It will be a different Canaan from the past. I’m sure I evolved into bigger and better in all respects. “
This Friday in Shawnee, Kansas, Kawaihae (5-1) will try to return to battle with a victory when he takes Jake Childers (8-1) to the 145-pound co-main event of LFA 105.
UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 press conference
“From what I’ve seen Jake Childers is tough, he’s a wrestler and he makes his fights as ugly as possible,” Kawaihae said. “He tries to throw combinations to get in and get a abolition. He is very gloomy and grinds and tries to wear you out with removals and dirty boxing.
“I think I have a very terrible attitude. I also have a very good fight. I’m a black belt on the ground, so if I’m down, I’m not worried about that. I am quite comfortable on my back and quite comfortable on the ground. I feel like I can do it for as long as I show up and play. “
While at first he might have thought of the bigger picture of his return to competition as he approaches his first race, Kawaihae has put his eyes more on work and taking things as they come.
“For now I will do one race at a time,” Kawaihae said. “Maybe a few weeks ago I had a roadmap, for now I will take things in stride.
“If I do well I will expect a bigger one. I will definitely be looking for a UFC contract if my managers can provide that for me. “