Thursday, June 9, 2016

‘Wreck-It’ Rob on the rebound

It’s hard to live life with regrets. But no matter how hard we try at something, there’s always something we can do a little better with the benefit of hindsight. There was much that “Wreck-It” Rob Sullivan would like to have back from his last fight.

Sullivan (6-4) came up on the short end of a split decision to Myron Baker at Shogun Fights 14 in April. The fight was Sullivan’s first since suffering a knee injury last year. Sullivan dealt with soreness in his knee leading up to the fight, and said he may have come back a little sooner than many expected.

“Leading up to the fight, I felt fine,” Sullivan told me recently. “I’m not making any excuses at all. I was a little injured, but that didn’t stop me. I tore a ligament in my ankle, so I didn’t do any running, but did a lot of biking and swimming instead.”

It appeared during Sullivan’s fight with Baker at Shogun Fights that he was getting hit constantly. But according to Sullivan, many of Baker’s strikes weren’t really landing. Sullivan said his biggest regret was not pushing the pace more in the third round, and that he understands how the judges scored the fight and doesn’t think he was robbed.

However, Sullivan wouldn’t mind seeing the judges’ scorecards for himself.

“I was convinced Round 2 went my way,” Sullivan said. “I heard one judge gave him Round 2 because of ‘effective striking.’ Needless to say, I didn’t take it very well. He spent four minutes on his back.”

While Sullivan would take a rematch with Baker “in a second,” he’s moving on to his next fight July 9 for Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sullivan will face Anthony Terrell (5-2), and he acknowledges he’s facing a “dangerous and more explosive” fighter, he said.

“But he doesn’t like being on the ground, and there’s no secret to my game,” Sullivan added. “If I see a takedown, I’m going to take it. He gets dropped a lot and gets into these little wars – I’m sure we’ve shared some sparring partners in the past.”

Sullivan, who trains with Baltimore BJJ, is excited to make his debut with CFFC on July 9, after being originally scheduled to make his debut there prior to his injury. Having fought for regional organizations like Shogun Fights and CES MMA in the Northeast, and his upcoming fight with CFFC, has given Sullivan a unique perspective on regional mixed martial arts.

“There’s a deeper talent pool, and it’s harder to get fights to pad your record against mediocre fighters,” he said. “CFFC and CES have good guys, and they end up going to the UFC.”

While Sullivan would jump at the chance to fight in the UFC, as would any fighter, he also said he would be perfectly happy returning to Bellator MMA (where he picked up a unanimous decision victory in 2013) or competing for World Series of Fighting or even ONE FC in Asia, adding that he has a “deep fascination” with ONE FC.

“The UFC seems pretty hellbent on just building their brand,” Sullivan said. “I like controlling who I am, and I don’t think the UFC wants that.”

Sullivan has no plans to quit fighting anytime soon, saying that he “wants to fights until my body tells me I can’t anymore. I want to continue in this sport, keep winning and match the fighter I want to be with the fighter I am. That’s my quest.”

But at 32 years old, Sullivan already has ideas for what his post-fighting career might look like.

“I don’t want to fight into my mid-40s,” Sullivan said. “I still want to remember my name and remember my girlfriend’s name. My end goal is to give back – either open a gym and coach fighters or help push guys to that next level. I promoted music shows before I started fighting, and I would even love to start my own promotion.”