Bantamweight Dillon Tolbert admits he started off his MMA career on the wrong foot. Over the course of his first six fights Tolbert lost four of them, but has since worked hard to right himself.
In his last four bouts, Tolbert has picked up three wins and has evened his record out at 5-5, with first round finishes in all five of his victories.
“I started off my career 0-2, so I started out in that hole,” Tolbert told MMAWeekly.com. “I personally believe that I’m better than that. I believe all my training partners know I’m better than that. I just expect more of myself, so I kept digging and getting into it, and built and built and built until I got to where I’m at now at 5-5, and just keep going.”
One of the reasons Tolbert didn’t stop fighting was that belief that he could do better, and through is perseverance he’s been able to take the steps needed to get onto the right track.
“I always knew I would be able to turn it around,” said Tolbert. “I also had a couple other things going on in my life distracting me a little bit, but I always knew I was better than that, and I just believed more in myself, and kept building.
“I feel like that every time I step on the mats in the practice room I’m looking to improve myself. I can’t think of a time I ever stepped on the mats and got worse or even stayed the same. To where I’m at now from where I was at then is better. I’m always picking up something new and have never turned anyone’s knowledge down.”
On Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, Tolbert (5-5 MMA) will face Raul Romero (4-5 MMA) in a 140-pound main event kickboxing match at Shamrock FC 323.
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“I already beat him in an MMA match, I subbed him in about 30 seconds, but this is kickboxing,” Tolbert said of Romero. “I have faith in my stand-up, but as far as any fight I’ve been in, it’s natural reaction.
“This is more of a glorified sparring session for me. I’m just trying to improve and getting used to standing up in the cage. I’ve already beat him, so it’s not a ‘win/loss’ situation to me. I’m just trying to improve myself and it’s like a glorified sparring session to me.”
For Tolbert, rebuilding his career is just the first step. In the coming year he would like to make headway towards getting on the national stage and continue to make moves forward.
“I’d like to stay with Shamrock a little bit and keep building up my repertoire with them,” said Tolbert. “I feel like I’ve started to establish myself now.
“My main goal for 2020 is to get people to start looking at me more and more, more on the national scale and less on the regional scale, and just go from there.”