The stage may be bigger, but the mindset remains the same for Cole Smith.
Fighting out of Squamish, B.C., Smith (6-0) will make his UFC debut Saturday night against Mitch Gagnon (12-4) in a bantamweight bout at UFC Ottawa in Ottawa, Ont.
And although this is the moment Smith’s been waiting for his entire MMA career, he said it’s just like any other fight.
“I’m just going to approach it just like any other fight. There’s no difference,” said Smith.
“I set out a goal a long time ago and of course I’ve reached it. This is how my cards are supposed to be playing. It’s not a big deal; most people hype it up, but it’s just another day, just another fight.”
Although he’s taken on his share of tough opponents so far in his career, Gagnon will surely be Smith’s toughest yet, and on the biggest stage.
But despite this being the biggest moment of his career, Smith, 27, said he feels the pressure is all on Gagnon.
“There’s no pressure on me. I’m going in as the underdog, and I’m fine with that,” said Smith.
“He’s coming off a couple losses, he’s at the tail-end of his career, and I think he has one foot out the door. I’m jumping in with two feet, so I’m ready to go.”
Nerves Always Exist in MMA
While he may not feel the pressure’s on him, Smith said he still feels the nerves, as he has for every one of his MMA fights in the past.
He said no matter what stage it’s on or what level of fighter someone is, there will always be a certain level of nervousness.
“Anyone who tells you there’s no nerves is just bull****ing. No matter who I’m fighting, I’m going to be anxious,” said Smith.
“I could be fighting some dumbass in the alley and I’m going to be a little anxious and nervous.”
So far in his career, Smith has shown the ability to finish a fight in a variety of ways, while also proving he has no problems going the distance.
Smith said although he doesn’t have any predictions on how he’s going to win, he said he believes he has the ability to finish Gagnon in a multitude of ways.
“I have lots of tools. I finish people striking and I finish people on the ground. I have a million different ways to win,” said Smith.
“I know my hand’s going to be raised.”
“I’d like to thank my brother Kasey Smith, The Sound Martial Arts in Squamish, True Grit Drywall, MJS Glazing, and Long Time Dead Apparel.”