South African MMA legend Martin van Staden has no intentions of slowing down after missing out on reclaiming lightweight gold on the weekend.
Van Staden (26-12) dropped an unanimous decision to England’s Joe Cummins (6-1) in their tussle for the vacant strap in the EFC 77 headliner in Pretoria on Saturday.
‘The Punisher’, a heavy-handed striker with 19 knockouts on his record, struggled to deal with Cummins’ wrestling at Time Square, as was the case when he lost the belt to now-retired Alaskan Dave Mazany (17-7) in August 2018.
Van Staden told reporters afterwards: “Obviously I’m disappointed. I had to dig deep those two rounds, I knew Joe was slowing down a little bit. I had moments in the fight which I should have capitalised on, which didn’t come. Something didn’t click tonight and Joe came in with a good strategy – he came to wrestle me. Good job Joe. You know I was expecting a stand-up fight. We did everything, we prepared for every scenario. We did a good job. Hats off to him, and that’s why he’s champion tonight. Good job brother.”
The 36-year-old, who was on the UFC’s radar before losing to Mazany, added: “You know, I love this game. I love fighting, it’s in my heart; it’s in my blood. Where I go from here, I will sit down with my family and my coaches. I still want to compete, whether it’s EFC or whatever the road forward is. I love what I do. Joe beat me; he beat me in the MMA match. I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me man.You know, guys don’t want to fight me, they want to wrestle me. I’m going to go back to the drawing board, work on the stuff I suck at, like the wrestling, and come back. Who knows, maybe I start boxing? I don’t know, but I love MMA. I love competing and I’m going to keep doing this until … You know, I’m a hard guy to finish. My teammates just told me now … I always fight till the bitter, bloody end. I will keep swinging and I’m going to keep doing that for as long as I can.”