A rejuvenated Evan Dunham has fallen back in love with the sport.

Dunham (18-8-1 MMA, 11-8-1 UFC) hung up his gloves in 2018 after suffering back-to-back stoppage losses to Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Francisco Trinaldo.

But after 19 months away, Dunham says his fire is relit, and he’s hoping to display an even better version of himself.

He was scheduled to face Michael Johnson at UFC on ESPN+ 30 this past Saturday, but the event was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now his return will have to wait.

“I’m not really seeing it as a comeback,” Dunham told MMA Junkie. “I’m happy to be coming back, kind of reenergized at this sport. I fixed a couple of injuries that were really nagging me for a long time. I never really thought I’d get through those things to a point where I could do full camps, but now I’m 100 percent and very excited. So when it kind of got swept out from under us, it was disappointing. But everything is going to go back to normal at some point. I’ll get to show that new version of myself, so I’m excited.”

The UFC has scheduled its next three shows to take place in Jacksonville, Fla., and Dunham is ready and willing to compete on any of the upcoming events.

“I haven’t heard anything, but I definitely would do them if they gave me the opportunity,” Dunham said. “I’m ready. I can even go (1)70 on short notice. I’m just ready to get the ball rolling again and if they give me the opportunity, I would love to take it.”

While Dunham isn’t calling it a comeback, stepping away has validated that he’s not quite done with the sport yet.

“I had that time away from the sport, but it kind of confirmed my love for it,” Dunham said. “I took a step way back from the MMA part and dove heavily into the jiu-jitsu part. But there was still something missing. So my goal with this is just to pursue the thing I love to the very end, until I can’t anymore, and I know I’ve got a lot more fight in me.

“My goal is just to have fun and ride the wave, and things like what we’re going through now have also confirmed in my mind that I don’t have to live for later on. I’ve got to live for now, and then let later on figure itself out. That’s my goal with this, is just to have fun and that’s it.”

Source link