Though he was able to win both of his fights in2016 and remain undefeated for the sixth year in a row, featherweight prospect Lazar Stojadinovic still views the year as disappointing.
The biggest reason Stojadinovic feels 2016 was a letdown was the fact that for the second straight year, he was unable to get the kind of fights he wanted.
“To be honest 2016 was rough for me, because it’s been some time actually that I got a real opponent,” Stojadinovic told MMAWeekly.com. “I’ve been begging for real fights, for names, and I’ve had a couple set up and a couple back out. It’s been tough.
“I had two fights, but they were late replacements, so we just got what we could and came up with a couple of guys.”
Stojadinovic believes the level of competition he faced last year contributed to having sub-standard performances by his measure.
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“I don’t feel like I performed to the best of my abilities, because I didn’t have a serious threat in front of me,” said Stojadinovic. “Both of my opponents were nowhere near my level, so I wasn’t able to shine.
“I felt like I could beat the guy with my eyes closed, so it was like I was just going through the motions. I always perform much better with a higher level opponent.”
For his first fight of 2017, Stojadinovic (11-5) will look to reverse his recent trends with a 145-pound main event fight at LFA 2 on Friday in Prior Lake, Minn., against veteran Mike Richman (18-6).
“I have seen a couple of fights he’s had in Bellator, and from what I saw back then, he’s a durable guy and is a guy who comes to fight, and I love that,” Stojadinovic said of Richman. “I’m the kind of guy who puts on a show for the fans, so I’m excited for that.
“I feel we match up well for a good fight, but I feel like I’m the better of us two.”
While he’s faced difficulty of late getting the type of opposition he’d like, Stojadinovic remains positive in his outlook for 2017, and feels it could wind up being be a breakthrough year.
“Every year that comes, I stay with the same mindset,” he said. “Every year I think I’m going to get in the UFC and make a statement early on. 2017 is no different.
“I’ve had some bad luck in the past and some things fall through, but I feel like Mike is actually going to come and fight, and I feel like winning eight fights in a row and beating a veteran who’s been in the game a long time makes a huge statement, and I think that will put me right where I need to be.”
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