After suffering his first career loss in June of 2018, bantamweight John Douma was able to rebound in his first bout of 2019 when he took on Mike Kimbal at Bellator 215.
For Douma the win over Kimbal wasn’t just important for getting his career back on track, it was also a big step forward in the development of his young career.
“I think I grew a lot in that fight,” Douma told MMAWeekly.com. “I think I learned to stay more patient and have more trust in my game plan. In my other fights I felt like I could impose my will a lot, and that was working for me until it didn’t, so I switched it up and got the win.”
Douma both stuck his guns and made changes following his loss to Adam Acquaviva in 2018, which helped return to winning form this year.
“I stay the course as far as my camp and my teammates and what I was doing,” said Douma. “I had trust in the system and what I was doing. But I think I needed to take more of a professional approach to things.
“(The loss) was a good reality check. At 22 I had my first loss, and before that like any other 22 year I was on the top of the world and confident as ever, and it really made me take a hard look at myself and my game and see where I needed to change things.”
At Bellator 232 on Saturday in Uncasville, Connecticut, Douma (3-1) will look to build a winning streak when he takes on Jornel Lugo (2-0) in a preliminary 135-pound bout.
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“I think he is going to come to bring it,” Douma said of Lugo. “He’s an athletic guy with a pretty good following. For me the key is to stay technical, be smart, use movement, and the rest will come.
“I think I’m the more experienced fighter, the better fighter, so it’s just a matter of doing what I do and keeping my composure and not messing up. I think it will be exciting. I think I’m the better fighter and as long as I stick to my guns I will come out with a win.”
For Douma, having hit a road bump last year, his changed mentality has him looking more in front of him rather than down the road when it comes to 2020.
“I think it’s best to go fight by fight,” said Douma. “Earlier in my career I was trying to set out a roadmap and you start to look past things and ahead to things, but now I just focus on this fight and just worry about this opponent.
“I just think you’ve got to take it fight by fight and win everything and then eventually all the good things will come.”