When looking back over his 2016 campaign, featherweight Matt Bessette feels like he accomplished a lot of what he set out to do.
In four bouts, Bessette picked up four finishes over the course of five months, and has since spent the remainder of the year continuing to develop his game.
“I thought I did excellent,” Bessette told MMAWeekly.com. “I was very driven throughout 2016. I was extremely active, and when I’m active I tend to be a much better fighter.
“Even though I haven’t been competing (of late), I’ve been staying in shape just in case the UFC were to call me as a late replacement. Over the last year I’ve been training consistently for a fight. I know you might think that’s a lot and I need a break, but I feel great, and it’s only making me better.”
One of the aspects of Bessette’s game he has been most pleased with has been his ability to finish fights.
“There was a time in my career when I was just getting decisions,” he said. “I was really focusing on just winning, and getting out of the idea that I needed to hurt and finish my opponents. So now I go out there to be destructive and get the finish.”
Bessette (20-7) will look to pick up his fifth win in a row when he defends his 145-pound title against Kevin Croom (17-7) in the main event of CES 41 this Friday in Lincoln, Rhode Island, live on AXS TV.
“He’s very dynamic and is good everywhere and has a lot of experience,” said Bessette of Croom. “He’s definitely got the personality for an MMA fighter – and that makes for a fun fight. I’m excited for this fight in general because I feed off the energy the other person gives me.
“If his hands are low, I’m going to hit him in the head, if his hands are high, I’m going to hit him in the head. If he shoots for a takedown, I’m going to sprawl, take his back and get the choke. Whatever is there, I’m going to attack and find the finish.”
Following a front-loaded year in 2016, Bessette is not looking for a repeat in 2017, but is still willing to do what it takes to get him to the next level.
“I probably won’t be putting in another year like I did last year,” he said. “That was a ton. I fought every two months for a while. My body likes it, and I like it in general, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who fights all the time, and then at 60 years old can’t speak.
“I’ll probably fight this one and hopefully the UFC calls. If not, I’ll stay in shape and continue to fix my craft. Whatever is next, I’ll embrace.”
(Photo by Will Paul/CES MMA)