Lance Palmer refuses to live in the past.
Preparing to return to the fight for the first time in a year, the two-time PFL champion is not trying to claim that his previous championship victories will predetermine the outcome of the upcoming season. He can be considered the # 1 seed at the start of the season, but he understands better than anyone that ranking does not determine performance.
Giving up life at the expense of past glory may be the same advice Palmer offers to his future rival, Bubba Jenkins, who will make his promotion debut when they clash Friday night in PFL Season 3 Season 1 1: Pettis vs. Collard.
Back in college, Jenkins beat Palmer on several occasions as they competed as contenders for the country’s two top wrestling programs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively. Although wrestling matches took place more than a decade ago, Jenkins said ahead of the fight that he believed his superiority in those matches would be a psychological obstacle for Palmer when they finally meet in the cage.
Like his approach to the upcoming season, Palmer could only scoff at the suggestion that his past defeats to Jenkins would play any role in their fight.
“If we go back to fighting each other, I beat him in one of the matches we played that year, and all the matches we played were in that season, the 2008 season,” Palmer explained in interview. with martial arts. “So I think he might come back and say, ‘Yeah, I beat that guy or that guy in 2008,’ but if we go back to 2008, I beat Jordan Burroughs. Does that make me an Olympic champion? No, it’s not.
“There are many ways to look at it and justify things, but I think he does it to keep himself motivated or to give himself confidence, and that’s okay.”
For his part, Palmer sees in Jenkins only the person he met in wrestling matches 13 years ago, and nothing more. There is no lingering rivalry outside of Jenkins still clinging to these victories.
“To be honest, I’ve known Bubba since 2005 – I don’t see it as a rivalry at all,” Palmer said. “I just think of it as a person that I know outside of the fight, with whom I am currently fighting. As for the rivalry, I think it was he who was trying to create rivalry in his head. I see no rivalry here. I just see a good competitor. I know someone who fought really well 12, 13 years ago.
“We are both at completely different stages in our lives. We are over 30. The last time we both competed in wrestling was over ten years ago, and now we are both wrestlers. I think people are trying to weigh our fight based on what our wrestling career has been like. I think they will be very surprised if they do that. “
While Jenkins has certainly built a solid career in MMA with an overall score of 14-4, Palmer believes that he simply became the best fighter by fighting and defeating the best opponents.
“I think in terms of a career in MMA, I have struggled with tougher competition,” Palmer said. “I have handled the tough competition better than him and I think I just have more skills when it comes to winning this fight.”
Palmer loves Jenkins the most because it gives him the opportunity to set the stage for the start of the featherweight season in which he hopes to become a three-time PFL champion.
He may be an overwhelming favorite to win it all again, but Palmer knows he always needs to go out and prove it.
Beating Jenkins in the first fight of the season will help Palmer launch his 2021 campaign, but that also doesn’t mean the job will be complete. Six more guys are fighting for the championship.
“Because he’s the loudest of them all, so that puts him on the back burner for the rest of the season,” Palmer said of winning Jenkins in his first fight of the year. “But as for the competitor, Movlid, [Khaybulaev] probably one of the coolest guys in the division as a whole. In terms of skill and combat, I think he’s a really interesting opponent.
“At the moment I’m totally focused on Bubba, and once April 23 is over, we can have a look at the other guys.”