There's also a tremendous range is skill and dedication at the regional level. You might get some wannabe tough guy who just wants to say he was in a cage fight. Or you might get a superstar in the making whom nobody knows about just yet.
I know that my next opponent isn't either of these. Fighting since 2011, his Sherdog record is 0-2. On paper I should be a favourite given that I am 2-0. But his losses are to legitimate regional fighters, and his last fight was up a weight class at 135 against a former Battlefield titleholder.
When you're fighting an 0-2 fighter, it can mean you're fighting a wannabe who doesn't take it seriously (like when I fought this guy), or it can mean he is very hungry but has just had tough opponents. I'm assuming that it's the latter; based on his Twitter, he's in the gym, and even travelled to Montreal recently to train at Tristar under Firas Zahabi.
Every day that I haven't wanted to show up, and every day that I haven't felt like training hard, I remember that he is desperate. I think about what I would do and how I would be training if I were the winless fighter taking on the undefeated fighter. I am training like I am the one who is winless. I am training for him like his record is 15-0.
I can honestly say that I have put my full 100% into this training camp. It's 12 days away, and they can't come fast enough.
It's a fight. Never, ever, underestimate anyone in a fight.