By the time UFC 101 rolls around this Saturday, it will have been 14 months since we last saw “The Ultimate Fighter 7” winner Amir Sadollah compete. His upset victory against CB Dollaway was the only win of his professional career, and he knows there is still a lot left to prove.
After taking home the UFC’s six-figure contract, Sadollah took about five months off to allow his mind and body to recoup, then suffered a minor injury that set him back, but he is good to go now.
To help him with the transition from reality TV star to true MMA fighter, Sadollah followed his “TUF 7” coach, and former “TUF 1” champ Forrest Griffin to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. A place that he now calls home.
“It was just an indication when I went on the show,” he explained. “I just had no problems with the guys I worked with and I liked them a lot. They have good game plans and good coaching. The talent level of fighters that are out here like Forrest, Randy (Couture), Wanderlei Silva, Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Tyson Griffin, Gray Maynard. The list goes on and on.”
Sadollah knows that by winning the show, he now has a very large target on his back. Everyone will be gunning for him, trying to prove the only reason he is in the UFC is because of his reality TV success.
Not only will training at Xtreme Couture, one of the most talented fight camps in all of MMA, help in Sadollah’s development, but seeing Forrest on an everyday basis should be plenty of motivation for the rookie as well. Forrest was once in Sadollah’s shoes and has managed to become the UFC light heavyweight champion. A true fairytale story.
Johny Hendricks will mark Sadollah’s second professional opponent, and his second in the middleweight division. Sadollah is a small 185-pounder, and has already considered making the drop down to the 170-pound division, a weight that may be much more suitable for him.
“It’s something I’m definitely considering,” he stated. “I think it’s kind of the next step for me. There’s definitely pros and cons in it for me. I was just a little cautious changing too many things after the show. I’m on the fence about it.”
Either way, his long journey to MMA stardom will officially begin this weekend in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
You can bet against him, however his entire life has been based on proving the naysayers wrong.