Blake Bilder has been grinding on the U.S. regional scene for the past few years to reach this moment, to fight for a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS).
Costa Mesa, Ca.’s Bilder (6-0-1) is the current the CFFC featherweight champion coming off a successful title defence back in April and will take on Canada’s Alex Morgan (11-4) in a DWCS featherweight bout tomorrow night.
He said he knows Morgan is tough and while he isn’t looking past him, Bilder, 32, is solely focusing on what he needs to do in order to leave the UFC Apex with a UFC contract.
“All I know is he’s just another fighter. I’m not downgrading him or upgrading him. For me, he is human. He’s a fighter and he’s got a lot of experience. I just feel like my skillset has improved so much and I have a lot of experience as well,” said Bilder in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I just bet on myself more than anybody else and I believe in my abilities and I just focus on my skillset. I’m not necessarily focused on what he’s done, what he can do and anything like that. I’m just honing in on my skills and focusing on me because the real battle is with the man in the mirror.”
Bilder isn’t taking this opportunity for granted as earlier this year his younger brother took his own life.
He said he’s an advocate for mental health in MMA and is happy to see the changes needed in the sport about men being open and honest about their mental health.
“You know, it’s me, Tyson Fury, Paddy Pimblett and so many more. It’s great that it’s being talked about. After my little brother took his own life I said I don’t believe in depression. I said I will not be at that state anymore. The reasoning is if I believe in depression that means I’m giving reasons to why it’s real. Yeah, you can feel sad, but to remain there and identify there as a person you are going to seek to find reasons why that is true,” said Bilder.
“Your believe system is a program that is ran in your head. It leads to your thoughts, feelings, action and the result is depression. But if you don’t believe in the thoughts, don’t serve it, the feelings won’t adhere to it, the action won’t end up being a result of depression. For me, I choose not to believe in depression. You can feel sad, but if you choose to believe in it you are setting yourself up for disaster.”