Brian Bowles is making his return to the Octagon later this month at UFC 160, his first appearance since losing to Urijah Faber in November 2011.
The bantamweight fighter out of Athens, Georgia entered the fight with Faber with a 10-1 record; his only loss coming at the hands of current UFC champ, Dominick Cruz, and 9 of his wins coming through submission of T/KO.
Since losing to Faber in a first round submission, however, Bowles has been unable to compete due to a number of injuries and illnesses. He suffered staph infections as well as two bulging discs and two degenerative discs in his back.
He told MMA Hour on Monday, “When I sit out and try to come back, I have to come back so slow to get my back conditioned to it, that if I don’t, I’ll hurt myself. That actually happened to me. So, we tried to come back too fast, and then I ended up hurting my back and that would put me down for another month. Then before you know it, you’re out five to six months without doing anything just from trying to take off a month or two.”
More than just healing his body, the year and a half off, though challenging at times, has helped Bowles reignite his love for fighting.
“You kind of get down on yourself when you’re not training and you’re sort of laying around… I guess it’s like you get depressed because you’re a fighter and you’re not fighting, you can’t train, you’re not making money, you’re not doing interviews, you’re not doing interviews. But as soon as I got to training hard again, I realized how much I loved it, and this is where I belong and this is what I want to do…. Sometimes going in the gym, it wasn’t fun to me anymore. And I started doing this out of fun. I didn’t start doing this because I wanted to fight in the UFC, this is what I want to do. I just started doing it for run. When it became my job, and al the pressure got on me, it quit being fun, the grind of it. That little bit of a break got me refocused and I really enjoy it now. I’m back where I used to be, and I really like training again.”
With his love for the sport rejuvenated, Bowles has healed up and resumed training in preparation for a UFC 160 match-up with George Roop on May 25. For Bowles, who is still ranked in the UFC’s top ten bantamweight contenders, this fight could mark his second rise to the top of the division.
UFC 160 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden and will feature a rematch between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Cain Velasquez for Velasquez heavyweight title. Bowles will fight during the preliminary fights which are set to stream live on Facebook at 3:35pm PT on May 25.
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