Welterweights battle in Friday’s co-main event
NASHVILLE – Throughout his MMA career, Duane Ludwig has searched for a place he can call his own.
The MMA veteran has split time in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions, finding success – but never able to establish a foothold. Now with back-to-back wins, “The Dolce Diet” taking the pressures off his weight cut and the record for the fastest knockout secured in the UFC books, “Bang” has found his stride. And he doesn’t plan on letting up when he faces Josh Neer in the co-main event Friday at UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller.
“The fastest knockout record is cool because it sets me apart from other fighters – past, present and future,” Ludwig told HeavyMMA on Wednesday after a workout in Nashville, Tenn., site of Friday’s card. “It’s certainly good to be in the history books. Individuals and human beings in general are always trying to stand out and be that one guy. This definitely separates me and is cool for sure.
“My focus is on becoming a better mixed martial artist and not cutting weight. Mike Dolce has helped me out a ton. He has educated me on food, what to eat and when to eat it. If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be having the performances I’ve been having. It comes down to making the right choices. It’s like picking a car. Do you want the car to run fast, or do you want it to sustain?”
Both Ludwig and Neer favor the striking game, but their styles have glaring differences. Neer favors a smash-mouth, pressure-heavy attack. Ludwig brings crisp Muay Thai based on accuracy and volume. The potential slugfest has fans marking the bout an early Fight of the Night candidate, but Ludwig is ready to go wherever the scrap takes place.
“A fight can go anywhere in mixed martial arts,” Ludwig said. “He’s a wrestler, and I have wrestling, as well, along with my jiu-jitsu. We are cut from the same cloth, just from different ends. He’s more of a tough scrapper type, where I’m tough, too, but I bring a more sound and technical aspect to the cage. I want to show technical superiority over Josh on Friday night.”
Neer fights for the second time since returning to the UFC last fall, and while “The Dentist’s” motivations have him charged up, concentrating on the upcoming fight is the only thing on Ludwig’s mind. On a roll and feeling better than ever, he doesn’t allow issues beyond his control to break his focus.
“I don’t really care what is going on outside of the cage as far as rankings and momentum,” Ludwig said. “My opponent is Josh Neer, and that is my focus. It’s the only thing I can control, so I don’t focus on his wins or losses. I focus on the task at hand. It’s not a good idea to look away from that.”