LONDON – "Everything and more" and "dream become true" are some of the expressions that Nathaniel Wood can think of to describe the special feeling of going out on Saturday at Saturday and leaving him with a victory.
"I thought about that moment for a long time," Wood told reporters, including MMA Junkie, backstage. "To have the victory with my frame mates, my crowd and the flag. If I had lost, it would have broken me. So, to get that victory, to see everyone cheering on their feet, it was really a dream come true."
So, it's safe to say that Wood (16-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is excited about his second round submission against fellow bantamweight Jose Quinonez (7-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) on UFC's main card on ESPN + 5. But the thrill of the positive result and the completion of a career goal were not yet sufficient to silence Wood's inner critic.
"At the moment, I am disappointed with my performance," Wood said. "I felt like I had lost too many shots. I felt like I had to land that left hook so many times, and I felt sloppy. That's how I honestly feel. But, of course, I have to look at the good things I did But right now I'm just thinking about bad things.
"I feel, my friend, he landed too many kicks in the legs than I intended. He had a takedown. At the moment, I'm just thinking about bad things. I have to go back, watch the video. I'm going to go back to the drawing board, and sure i'll come back a better fighter. "
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Nothing against self-improvement, but it's fair to say that Wood has already done quite well. At 25, the former Cage Warriors champion finished his three fights in the octagon, all by bottlenecks. The first, about veteran Johnny Eduardo, earned Wood a "Performance of the Night" bonus.
Wood's inclination to finish the fights is nothing new to anyone, but there was a bit of adaptation in the way they came out; of the five opponents who had finished consecutively en route to his UFC debut, four had been eliminated.
Wood, however, says he is not pursuing requests. It just happens that training with Ashleigh Grimshaw, along with high-level fighters, makes it easier to spot them. Wood also points out that his UFC enemies have so far been "on the back foot" and that knockouts will resume once he has a competition to come forward.
Don't expect the observation to lead to specific call-outs, though. As someone who simply loves being in a cage, it seems that Wood doesn't care too much about who shares it with him.
"This sport is everything to me, but I also have a life outside of sport," said Wood. "So, for me – it seems so trivial, but I just want to be happy, you know? I want to make my family, my fans proud and do what I love to do, which is MMA. So, if they would tell me tomorrow: & # 39; You can go there with TJ Dillashaw, & I'd like to take that shot without a doubt about the contract I am now, and I will be sure that I will win.
"But if the UFC told me, & # 39; We just want you to fight someone who is in 30th place, & # 39. Cool. I like this sport, I enjoy doing it, I'll arrive tomorrow, I'll bring the "I will train with the boys when I retire in the sport. I love competing and I just want to enjoy it. If I can do it on the biggest platform in the world, then it's all for me."
To learn more from Wood, watch the video above.
And for complete UFC coverage on ESPN + 5, check the UFC Events section of the site.