In the UFC, stepping out in front of a rabid crowd to get his face punched is only a reality. As routine as it may sound for fighters, combat anxiety remains pervasive.
After months of grueling training and a strict diet (in most cases), fighters must survive the grueling process of losing weight. With they almost finished rehydrating, it’s time to step into the Octagon and fight with all their might for victory.
This is all very stressful, even for the most hardened UFC gladiators. Needless to say, nerves can often take the wheel, with fighters finding themselves on the wrong side of severe anxiety attacks. From nervous nerves to outright vomiting, pre-fight stress can manifest in a variety of unpleasant ways.
Here are three seasoned UFC fighters who have openly admitted to grappling with this issue.
# 3. Former UFC welterweight title challenger Darren Till
Till’s confidence had been severely shaken by his 17-game winning streak that ended with Woodley. For Till, the Masvidal KO was just the icing on the cake of the professional anxiety that was starting to weigh on him.
Despite consuming fears of another loss, Till managed to overcome the stress to secure another victory on his record. The Muay Thai master has since spoken about the pre-match nervousness which in one way or another affects almost all fighters.
After losing to Robert Whittaker last year, Till finally returns to the Octagon in August to face Derek Brunson. With three losses under his belt now, don’t be surprised if Till starts to panic once again.
# 2. Former UFC lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone
One would assume that Cerrone is essentially fearless, all things considered, but the man himself has confirmed that this is far from the case. Severe episodes of vomiting right before a fight have been a sad fact of Cerrone’s life for years. He also described how his anxiety attacks physically anchor him during the wait time before his fights.
Struggling to warm up or think properly, the last moments before he stepped into the octagon were often psychologically debilitating. Luckily for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, the moment the bell rings, he enters a state of tunnel concentration. Considering his nausea issues when nervous, that could also be a good thing for his opponent …