In fighting Tim Kennedy at Strikeforce next weekend, Melvin Manhoef knows that in coming off of two losses, he has to win. At the same time, he sees value in having lost to Tatsuya Mizuno and Robbie Lawler in his last two bouts.
"I have a few losses. I have to win this fight. I'm going to do everything in my power to do that. It's sometimes good to have losses. You learn something from the losses," Manhoef told Cagewriter.
"I learned a lot about who my fans are. If you're at a point when you're winning, everyone tells you to keep going. But when you lose, you have to keep going, too. If you don't have losses, you'll never have wins, either."
With just four weeks notice on the bout, Manhoef has spent time working on conditioning and hasn't had time to read what his opponent is saying about their fight.
"Honestly? I don't read anything. I don't see anything. I don't read the internet or anything. I'm not busy with that. I'm busy with training. But what did he say? You can tell me."
I responded that Kennedy said he will knock you out in the first round, and asked if he would like to respond to that.
"My response? What? (laughs.) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everybody has fantastic dreams and everything. He can dream what he wants."
Though Manhoef has just fought once in the United States -- the loss to Lawler -- he can't wait to get back to America for this bout.
America: where dreams come true
"It's different than fighting in Japan or Holland. In America, I like it. The interviews and all the things around it. They put attention on the fighters and they really appreciate the fighters in America. They say in America that all dreams come true, so I hope my dreams will come true there. "
He's still somewhat of an unknown entity to American MMA fans, so they may not know of his K-1 kickboxing background, or how he is talented at bringing violence to the cage. They may even be surprised when they see him walk out to the cage wearing a dog collar. He says it's all part of the ritual to get him in fight mode.
"It's like a thing that's inside me. In my mind, when I see my opponent and we are in the Octagon, it's like the old days. Like the gladiators. I want to win. It takes over everything and I really want to hurt people at that moment. That is how the dog collar comes in," Manhoef said.
"When the dog collar goes off, I feel unleashed. I feel like I have to go. I have to do what I want to do, and I want to fight. It's like I'm a wild beast. I'm like an animal."