All around the world, people, in a drunken haze, scream out their New Yearís resolutions on Dec. 31. Itís not until they wake up the next morning with a hangover to end all hangovers that a lot of them come to the conclusion that their resolution probably isnít going to come to fruition.
Others take to Facebook when the calendar year turns over to alert the masses that the upcoming year is going to be the year of change, or that they will meet their resolution by the time another year rolls around.
It wasnít the turning of a calendar year that possessed the UFCís James Te Huna to embark on a new challenge in 2014. Instead, it was a loss that saw him laying on the mat in the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with a legend of the sport screaming in his face.
ďIt was a pretty embarrassing loss, and last year was a pretty bad year for me,Ē Te Huna admitted in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. ďI had a lot of issues going into my fight in London, and we tried to work some things out in my time off between fights. And then there was that embarrassing knockout to finish the year off. This year, I am excited to take on a new challenge and take on a drop to middleweight.Ē
Throughout a fighterís career, itís not that uncommon to see them chop and change in weight divisions. However, when a fighter has called one division home throughout their whole career, itís going to mean a new learning curve in all aspects of their game.
ďItís about making a fresh new start and taking on a new challenge, and I know Iíll be able to make middleweight,Ē Te Huna explained. ďMiddleweight is probably a bit more of a natural weight for me. Right now, I am always eating so that I can stay up at light heavyweight. Iím one of the lightest guys at light heavyweight, so I know that if I eat normally Iíll be able to hit middleweight. Iíve been fighting at light heavyweight for my whole career, but I think that this challenge is the right move.
ďIíll do a couple of practice cuts to make sure I can make the weight and it doesnít affect me. So, I definitely donít see myself fighting within the next three months. I just need to make sure I can do it and I can fight at the weight. I think itís the right thing for my career, and Iím looking forward to what the new challenge is going to bring.Ē
After posting back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, Te Huna did a lot of reflecting on where his career would be headed next. After a disappointing 2013 campaign that saw his four-fight winning streak come to an end, as well as the first knockout loss of his career, itíd be easy to throw it all in and call it a day on his 23-fight career.
ďIíve never thought of quitting after a loss. Sure, Iíve thought about it while being injured, but I just look at what happened as happening to everybody at some point. In my last fight, there was a lot of pressure on me to win and to do well,Ē Te Huna admitted. ďItís not too bad for me now, but right after the fight I felt really embarrassed. I have been fighting for 10 years now and really worked my way up and built up my career, and then that knockout just squashes all my hard work straight away. Iíve been knocked out before in sparring and training and itís a shit feeling, but youíve just gotta keep on kicking on.
ďEverybody gets caught at some point. You know, weíve seen it happen to guys like Rashad [Evans] and [Cain] Velasquez, and itís just something that happens. I spent a week in Sydney after the fight and just got my head around everything. I was supposed to head over to New Zealand for an interview with Sky Sports, but I felt really embarrassed and didnít think I should do it. I went over anyway, and it was just amazing how much support I was getting from everyone, like fans pulling me up in the street and all that kinda stuff. That experience really pumped me up and lifted my spirits, and now Iím looking to the new challenge ahead of me.Ē
It takes dedication to stick to a New Yearís resolution. Thatís something that the vast majority of people cannot attest to achieving. Luckily for Te Huna, though, itís not so much a New Yearís resolution that stands in front of him. Instead, itís a brand new start.