While 2018 might not have started out on a good note for bantamweight Tony Gravely, he was able to put things together over the second half of the year and end it on the best streak of his career.
After waiting until May for his first fight of 2018, Gravely suffered a loss Patrick Mix, but then rebounded with four straight finish victories.
“Starting out, my first fight of the year was in May and ended up with a guillotine loss,” Gravely told MMAweekly.com. “Obviously that didn’t feel too good. That one was one of the ones that hurt the most for me.
“Although it sucked really bad, it really helped me as a fighter and a person to think differently about the way I approach fighting. It helped me re-focus everything. I’m happy with the way (the year) ended with a four fight winning streak and four finishes, and I’m looking to keep the ball rolling and keep winning and picking up finishes.”
As Gravely stated, his loss forced him to change his mentality and now he works to ensure he’s in the best possible position to pick up a win every fight out.
“I’m smarter about way I approach fights,” said Gravely. “Every opponent is different. Every opponent is dangerous in different ways. Not necessarily having too much respect for somebody for the fact that you don’t implement your game plan.
“Why put yourself in a situation where the stakes for the other person a little higher? My game plan is always the same; I’m going in to win and dominate regardless; but there are different ways to do that. There’s different ways to keep yourself where you’re better off winning.”
On January 19 in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Gravely (16-5) will face Kris Moutinho (7-2) in a 135-pound championship defense co-main event at CES 54.
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“I don’t quite think he’s had as many tough opponents as I had,” Gravely said of Moutinho. “I think realistically I’ll be his toughest fight to date. I’ve fought a lot of tough people in the past. Either way it’s fight, regardless of who we fought in the past, anything can happen.
“I’m more than willing to trade with him, to wrestle, to ground ‘n’ pound – it doesn’t matter. I’m looking to get finishes now. It’s not just about winning. I’m looking to be dominant and make a statement that it’s my belt and I’m keeping it.”
With over 20 bouts in three years fighting, and a championship to his credit, Gravely feels like 2019 could finally be the year he makes his move up to the next level.
“My dead-set goal in 2019 is to be signed to the UFC,” said Gravely. “I’ve worked hard. I’ve put the time in. I’ve done everything I can to make that happen. I think I deserve it. There’s more I can do than to continue to do what I’m doing and make a statement that I deserve to be in the big show.”