For former Bellator featherweight Bubba Jenkins, 2018 has been one of the least productive of his career, but not by choice.
Since leaving Bellator in 2016 has fought sporadically, including the most recent stretch that has seen him be out of action for almost exactly a year.
“A lot of people will see it’s a long layoff, but people who know me know that I have not been out for a year; I’ve just been out of the public’s eye,” Jenkins told MMAWeekly.com. “We’ve been grinding away and I’m happy where I’m at with a mixed martial artist.”
As Jenkins explains, the reason he’s been out so long has been issues with the business side of the sport rather than any problems he’s had physically.
“We’ve been trying to get into different organizations; trying to show what your worth; but different organizations want to pay you pennies and crumbs,” said Jenkins. “It’s a kind of MMA purgatory where you’re hungry but you’re not going to take short-notice, dumb, fights, or you’re not going to take pennies.
“As someone more well-versed in the sport you know there’s more to it than just putting guys in cages and punches each other, the politics are paramount in so many different organizations, managers, and fighters alike.”
On September 21 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Jenkins (12-4) will have his first fight of 2018 when he challenges Elias Boudegzdame (15-4) in a 145-pound championship co-main event of Brave CF 16.
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“The last fighter you saw was different than the one you saw before that – every time,” Jenkins said. “You’ll see a dominant fighter as usual, a vicious fighter as usual, but I would say a more polished fighter who looks like they’ve been working strictly on becoming great.
“I’ve got to be me. I have trust in my training, my training partners, my coaches, and my abilities. I’ve got to go out there and think about the positive and adapt to every situation, and hope these hands of stone put someone to sleep like they normally do.”
For Jenkins the focus is solely on September 21 and nothing beyond. He has a promise to fulfill and he’ll stop at nothing to make sure it comes to fruition.
“What’s next is that I’ll be bringing back a belt from Abu Dhabi to America,” said Jenkins. “I promised the guys at Black House that I would bring the belt back and place it in front of the Black House sign on the mat and take a picture of that.
“I promised them that, and that’s what I’m going to do. I promised it and they’re holding me accountable for that, therefor I will go and achieve what I set out to do.”