(Don’t worry, buddy. We’ll pick you up a pair of oversized sunglasses at the gas station on our way to the after-party, and no one will even notice that thing.)
In the past few years James Irvin has had about as difficult a time as you can experience while still being employed and above ground. His string of untimely injuries and unfortunate mishaps earned him the title of ‘Most Cursed Fighter in MMA History,’ and the last time he was actually healthy enough to limp into the cage he took a beatdown from Anderson Silva and then got suspended for using prescription painkillers. He’s the kind of guy you don’t want to walk down the street with because chances are good that a piano might fall on his head and you’ll end up getting hit with the resulting splinter shrapnel.
But in an interview with Heavy.com on the verge of his return to action at ‘UFC on Versus’ this weekend, Irvin offers a sober assessment of his career and abilities that is so honest and forthright that we don’t know whether to be impressed or really bummed out.
Though he’s recently dropped to middleweight, he freely acknowledges that guys like Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia would probably put a beating on him, calling them both, “way out of my league right now.” And Anderson Silva? Shiiiiieeet. Irvin already knows what he’s about. Going into the fight he says he knew he had “a one in a million chance of beating that guy,” and he isn’t angling for a rematch, either:
Honestly, I don’t think I would ever deserve a rematch with him unless I won ten fights in a row by vicious knockout! He might even be retired by then. I don’t want a rematch with Anderson Silva to be honest.
It’s sincerely refreshing to see this kind of honesty from a pro fighter. Irvin could fight Silva ten more times and all he’d have to show for it is a lot of scar tissue and a bad case of PTSD that acts up whenever people around him make sudden movements, so what’s the harm in admitting that which we already know?
On the other hand, can you be a fighter in the UFC and not have any real desire to fight the champ? How do you keep going through the motions in the gym every day if you realize you’ll only ever rise so high? Obviously not everyone can be the best, but can you still do this for a living if you don’t believe, at least on some level, that you could be the best some day?