That’s all the time Patrick Cummins had to showcase his skills during his UFC debut in February. Perhaps, that’s all that was to be expected from an unknown fighter making his debut against an undefeated veteran on the sport’s biggest stage.
The light heavyweight from Doylestown probably didn’t belong in the cage that night, certainly not as part of a pay-per-view main event, after just a week of preparation.
That thought didn’t cross Cummins’ mind, however, because the time between when UFC president Dana White called him to let him know he would be replacing an injured Rashad Evans and the fight itself, was - according to Cummins - a “whirlwind.”
When Evans went down, Cummins (4-1 overall; 0-1 in UFC) sent out a tweet to White and Daniel Cormier, who was scheduled to fight Evans, saying that he was available. When White learned that Cummins had trained with Cormier, and even claims to have made him break down and cry during that time, he decided to give the unknown a shot.
“The real Rocky,” White called him.
That’s all the time it took Daniel Cormier to dispatch of Cummins by TKO at UFC 172. Perhaps, that’s because Cummins, then a part-time barista in California, didn’t realize what went in to preparing for a fight of that magnitude.
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t care, I’m always in shape. I can go in there no problem,’” Cummins said during a phone interview on Thursday.
Admittedly, that was a mistake, but it was also a product of the circumstances.
On Saturday, following a full eight weeks of training, Cummins will face Roger Narvaez during the prelims of UFC Fight Night 42.
If that sounds like a far cry from the co-main event of a pay-per-view, that’s because it is. Don’t blame Cummins, though. He was outmatched and underprepared against Cormier. Now, with time to adequately prepare and train, the former Penn State wrestler is looking for a much different result.
“It’s been like night and day,” Cummins said about the differences between this fight and his first. “I didn’t fully realize it until midway through camp. I’d never really had a full camp, so I didn’t realize the difference right away, both physically and mentally.”
That’s all the time Cummins might need on Saturday, considering his four professional fights prior to his loss to Cormier never made it out of the first round, all of them going in Cummins’ favor.
While that seems like a plus, late-round experience is something a fighter needs.
“I’m not opposed to letting it go a little longer this time to get that experience in the cage, but obviously I wouldn’t back down if I smelled blood,” Cummins said.
His opponent this time around, Narvaez (6-0), is making his UFC debut, but his most-recent fight went the distance, something Cummins has never come close to. Four of his other five fights, however, never made it out of the first round. Cormier, by comparison, has gone more than one round in seven of his last 10 fights.
“That’s the biggest thing that separates me from the best guys in the weight class. Physically, mentally, I’m there, but experience is where I lack.”
There’s not a lot of experience to be gained in just over a minute of fighting, which is why Cummins isn’t opposed to a longer fight. He’s also hoping to show fans, and the UFC, some more of his ability.
“I want to be able to go out there and showcase what I can do. All the people who I train with, the people who know me, they all know it’s there. Now I want to show that to every one else.”
That’s all the time Pat Cummins has spent fighting in the UFC, but that doesn’t worry him one bit. Win or lose, he’s confident about his future.
“I’m putting a lot of trust in the UFC because they know that I could possibly do some pretty good things at 205 [pounds]. I’m not going to turn down any fights or ask for anything. A couple of fights down the road? Maybe…”
Furthermore, his loss to Cormier has not shaken his confidence in the octagon.
“I’m expecting a lot out of myself, just because I’m so prepared,” Cummins said.
“The game plan is definitely different, but my state of mind is still the same. It’s still a fight. I’m not looking at it as an easy fight, but I never consider the possibility of losing.”