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Thomas Gifford shooting for a quick victory at UFC Tampa followed by and a quick return

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When it comes to his unanimous decision loss to Roosevelt Roberts at UFC on ESPN+ 8 this past April, lightweight Thomas Gifford can find no positives from the match.

Gifford feels like the gravity of fighting in the UFC got to him and he didn’t execute any of the game plan he had set for Roberts, and made multiple mistakes in how he fought in the bout.

“I’m actually super embarrassed by the way I fought Roosevelt,” Gifford told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a horrible way to fight. I was taken over by all the emotions and the big lights and of that of the UFC.

“I know I was stupid. I stood in front of him and I wasn’t moving. I didn’t use the game plan. I never got up off the ground. I was just trying to submit him, when I knew I couldn’t, even though he’s beating the crap out of me.”

In addition to the moment getting to him, Gifford feels that changing up his training camp and trying to add too much too quickly led to getting away from what got him to the UFC in the first place.

“(I went to Colorado and started training at Factory X and) I tried to shove two weeks of learning new stuff into my game plan, which is totally not smart for a seasoned fighter,” said Gifford.

“I should have fought him from the way I would have fought him from my hometown and not tried to do everything I was taught within three weeks of being called to the UFC. I was trying to change and get better, but yet it messed me up in that fact.”

On Saturday in Tampa, Fla., Gifford (17-8) will look to rebound when he faces late replace Mike Davis (7-2) in a UFC on ESPN+ 19 lightweight bout.

Gifford had been looking forward to a potential Fight of the Night war with Brok Weaver (14-4) on the Tampa main card.

“I love (Weaver’s) fight style. It plays perfect into mine because I like to stand and bang as well. You get three full five minute rounds full of banging, they’re going to give you $50K – that’s Fight of the Night no matter what.”

Now, however, Gifford has been shifted to the prelims for his fight with Davis, who is also making his sophomore UFC effort after losing his Octagon debut in April of this year.

Should Gifford come out of his bout with Davis unscathed, he would be willing to get in one more bout before the close of 2019, but if he has to wait until early 2020 that is fine with him as well.

“I haven’t talked to my manager or anything about that, we’re just taking it one step at a time, but if I get a quick knockout or a quick victory and I’m not hurt, I would love to fight again before the end of the year,” said Gifford.

“But a fight in January isn’t too bad for me anyway. That way I can come back (to Arkansas), see my family, spend Thanksgiving and Christmas (with them), and then go back to Colorado and start training again.”

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