(Photo via Sherdog)
By Elias Cepeda
Fight record databases are filled with the names of guys and girls with one or two fights. Fighting in MMA can seem like such a fun, exciting idea at first. You watch your heroes on television, you find a gym and train hard. Then, one night, after mustering up the courage, you strap on the gloves and take your own walk to the cage.
But, as is often the case, you lose and lose badly, and that is usually it. Fact is, most people who get beat up or knocked out in their first or second fight don’t come back for more.
Lloyd Woodard came back for more. You might now know him as the charmingly off-kilter Bellator lightweight who fights on national television, but at one point he was just another guy who’d gotten it handed to him.
Woodard was knocked out in just his very first amateur fight. Cold. Instead of getting intimidated, he got angry.
“I got pissed,” he tells Cagepotato.
“I wanted that fight back for a long time. I was supposed to get a rematch with that guy but I never got it. Even so, I never considered stopping fighting. From the moment my feet first touched the mat, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life.”
And so Woodard fought on. He won his next fight and turned pro. He won a lot more, actually.
After his first fight, Woodard won twelve straight over five years up until losing to future Bellator champion Michael Chandler in 2011. Tonight Woodard takes on David Rickels in a “loser shaves” bout at Bellator 87, as part of Bellator’s Season 8 lightweight quarterfinals; the event will be broadcast on Spike TV at 10 p.m. ET.
He’s once more coming off of a loss — two out of his last three, actually. The Montana-bred wildman says he took the same approach coming off his most recent stoppage loss as he did after his very first one.
“In my fights I’m like an animal – I have lots of intensity and heart,” he says. “I let my emotions take over [in his last loss to Rick Hawn]. I was caught up in the moment. And a lot of that is alright. I’m not going to change the way I fight, I will always go hard. But like animals, I got caught in a trap. And once an animal is caught in a trap, if they survive, they can learn their lesson. You may have gotten me in that trap last time, but I doubt you’re gonna get me in it again.”
Woodard doesn’t take much solace in the fact that, though he’s lost two out of his last three, they have come against the best Bellator has to offer in Hawn and Chandler. He wants to win, plain and simple.
But the fighter nicknamed “Cupcake” says he wouldn’t trade easier opponents for wins, either. He wants to win, but only against the best.
“I’m out here to have fun and beat all the good guys,” he says. “I want to fight and beat the best. Age and records ain’t nothin’ but a number. I don’t want to look back on my career and see a perfect record if the guys on my list weren’t killers.”