Clay Collard is one of boxing’s biggest stars of 2020.
The former UFC featherweight is signed to Top Rank boxing and has gone 5-0 in 2020 including a TKO win last Saturday. At the beginning of the year, he was being brought in to lose against some of Top Rank’s best-undefeated prospects. Yet, Collard won the fights and is now getting pushed by the ESPN boxing promotion.
“When we first signed with Top Rank, I showed up and was fighting an unbeaten prospect and put it on him. I think they were impressed and they want to see what I can do,” Collard said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com.
“For me to get a bigger fight I will have to get some more wins under my belt,” he added. “I don’t want to take three or four years to do that.”
Lately, Collard has been the betting favorite, but early on in the year that was not the case. He was expected to lose against David Kaminsky, who was supposed to be Top Rank’s next best thing. For “Cassius”, he embraced the underdog role.
“In my own head, I have never been the underdog. In my head, I am one of the best and I will work to be the best,” he explained. “I have never felt like the underdog, but stack the chips against me, I’ll show up and take them.”
There is no question 2020 has been a great year for Clay Collard, but none of this almost happened. At UFC 241 last August, Collard signed back with the UFC to fight Devonte Smith on short notice.
Unfortunately, he was pulled from the bout and his UFC contract was terminated. Although it was disappointing at the time, it has allowed Collard to pursue boxing.
“I believe everything happens for a reason. There was a reason why the fight never went through and the way things have happened this year with boxing has been great,” Collard said. “Was it a blessing in disguise? Probably. Who knows, I could’ve won the fight and the 50,000 dollar bonus the guy who fought Devonte made.”
The hope for Clay Collard is to get another fight in September or October and get another one after that to go 7-0 in 2020.
Even though Collard is having a ton of success in boxing, he still wants to return to MMA. He signed with PFL to be part of the 2020 season, but it was canceled. Although the promotion released most fighters, he is still under contract and plans to be part of the 2021 season.
“I am definitely under contract with PFL still. They have been kind enough to allow me to box and feed myself during this pandemic,” Collard explained. “I got to give a huge special thanks to the PFL for letting me do this. Next year, 2021, hopefully, the season starts and I’ll be gunning for the million dollars.”
Clay Collard is eager to get back into MMA but knows everyone in the tournament will not be standing with him. He expects most people to try and take him down which he is okay about.
Yet, the big question for Collard is what will that mean for his boxing career. He says right now, the plan is to box before and after the season. Yet, he knows things constantly change.
“If it is during the season time where I am going to be fighting, I will be busy. I’m going to focus on that when the time comes,” Collard concluded. “Just go out there and try to win the tournament and when that is over, I will weigh my options and go from there.”