LAS VEGAS – Austen Lane never gave up on his UFC dream.
Lane (12-3) fell short in his first opportunity at Dana White’s Contender Series when he was quickly stopped by fellow ex-NFL player Greg Hardy in 2018. He was finished once again in the first round in his next bout before turning his career around.
Lane won seven of his next eight fights, including five straight to earn another crack at a UFC contract at DWCS 55. And this time, he fully capitalized when he scored a first-round TKO of Richard Jacobi on Tuesday.
“It has been a long journey. It just feels justified,” Lane told reporters at the DWCS 55 post-fight press conference. “I said this all the time until I’m blue in the face: It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. Bad things will happen, you will face adversity, but if you overcome that adversity, it’s all good. It’s my second opportunity here. I made good on it. I think people get second chances. People love that story. I made good tonight.”
He continued, “There was never a moment where I doubted myself, because I surrounded myself with people that always push me, that always inspire me. I keep a very tight circle, and I let very few people in, but the people that are here are in my circle, they kept pushing me. So it was never an option to walk away from this sport. I had to make good on it. I made a promise to my coach that I’ll make it here, so I had to make good on that promise, and now we’re here.”
Lane doesn’t have a name in mind for his octagon debut but would one day like to fight in Jacksonville, Fla., which has hosted numerous UFC events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t specialize in perfect,” Lane said. “I specialize in the tenacity and adversity, so you can put me wherever. Put me against whoever, I’ll show you. I’ll show you what’s up, so it doesn’t really matter. Eventually fighting in Jacksonville would be fun. A lot of Duval chants going on, trying to put Jacksonville on the map. I have a lot of pride for that city because that city took me in.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Dana White’s Contender Series 55.