Even World Series of Fighting welterweight Josh Burkman didn't think that he would defeat former UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch in the first round of their WSOF 3 main event on Friday night in Las Vegas.
“I believe that I have a lot of potential and I'm gonna get a lot better, but that doesn't mean I don't surprise myself sometimes,” Burkman told MMAWeekly.com following the fight. “I didn't expect to stop Jon Fitch in the first round.”
It's not that he didn't think he'd win, he's definitely made favorable changes in his life and training since the two first met under the UFC banner seven years ago. Fitch won their first fight.
At that point, Burkman had only been fighting for about three years and had yet to learn how to conduct himself as a professional when it came to his approach as a fighter.
Now, with a wife and child to look after, Burkman has refocused his priorities and his approach to his career, and it's paying off.
“I'm just so grateful they get to be a part of this,” he said about his family. “They've ground me and they've given me structure in my life. For my wife and my little boy to be able to walk in and give me a hug and a kiss and say good job, I mean, that's just one of the greatest feelings you can have.”
Burkman, of course, will take time to celebrate with his family, especially with the weekend including his wife's birthday and Father's Day, but the talk already moves on to what's next for him.
The only thing he knows is that a title shot is expected, but his opponent remains a question mark.
“The only thing I heard was that the winner of the fight between Jon Fitch and I would get the first title shot,” said Burkman. “I've heard that Steve Carl's getting the fight, and he deserves that shot also, 2-0. But I also think that it would be cool to have a tournament and have (my challenger) win that tournament.”
It's unclear how things will unfold, but World Series of Fighting Vice President Ali Abdel-Aziz told MMA's Great Debate radio recently that the challenger will be fleshed out over the course of the promotion's next couple events.
For now, however, Burkman doesn't care. He's a happy man, coming off of a big win, and enjoying life with his family.