Don’t Call It a Comeback: Kent Ready for his Return at Aggression
When watching sports your whole life, there are always a few guys where you play the ‘what if he never got injured?’ game. Bo Jackson is one that would come to mind right away. After some tough injuries, Mike Kent did not want to be part of the game and will look to successfully return from injury as he faces Tim Chemelli this Friday at Aggression FC 14 at the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton.
Due to injuries, it has been almost 10 months since Kent has last fought, however, he knows there is one advantage that he will have when he steps into the cage.
“Without saying too much about my game plan I think conditioning is a huge factor,” says Kent. “I know Tim is a huge guy and has a lot of muscle on him and he swings for the fences. You don’t want to be in the way of one of those punches or it’s going to be a short night and we will be talking about my first loss. I think the key is to be faster and quicker. Everyone that loses to Tim backpedals against the fence, they are scared of him. I am not going to a take a step backwards and I’m not going to give him the ring so he is in for a fight and so am I.”
Injuries have not been the only change to affect Kent over the last year. He made the decision to move his family out to Fort McMurray where he was able to secure a higher paying job with the company that he was working for in Halifax. When Kent first moved, he was not sure if there would be a place in the area to train. That is where he found Bowman’s MMA, which is the home of fighters like Dwayne Lewis. When Kent first walked into the doors, he did not how he would be received, lucky for him the club welcomed him in with open arms.
“Everybody was really nice! Besides Dwayne, I had the most experience fight wise so I think they appreciated me,” says Kent. “It’s different with a lot of other gyms. They want to see what you’re all about first. They welcomed me in right away and Sandy (Bowman) gave me the keys to the gym so I could train when I want. Everyone there is supportive of me. I am coaching as well and helping out some of the other fighters.”
While his move was not easy, switching gyms could have been even tougher. Kent had cut his teeth training at Titan’s MMA in Halifax where he was able to build his record to 8-0 and, arguably, become one of the top fighters in the Maritimes. The guys at Bowman’s were able to make it easier than Kent expected it to be.
“It has made the transition easier. Titan’s is the number one gym in my mind,” says Kent. “I was horrified to go anywhere else’s because it was like a family to me and the training was unreal. I didn’t even know if I would fight again when I moved out here because I didn’t know if I would find a spot. Finding Bowman’s is like hitting the lottery because they have been a super good club and a super group of guys.”
When Kent first started to train out west, he had to drop out of his fight against Cody Krahn for MFC 34 because of another injury setback. The injury bug started when he suffered concussions before and after his fight with Dan Fowler at Elite 1 in October last year. After coming back to beat Chester Post at ECC 13 in January, he broke his hand a couple of months later while sparring. After moving and training in Alberta, he broke his hand yet again which prompted the former Middleweight to announce his retirement. The other reason he left the sport was that he felt he had let people down.
“I was just sick and tired of disappointing myself and other people by dropping out of fights,” says Kent. “I took a lot of flak from people thinking I wasn’t injured. You shouldn’t let what people on the internet say bother you but I do. It bugged me that people think it wasn’t a legitimate injury but my hand was broken and then it happened again training for Cody the second time. I was just in the gym helping other guys for fights and doing some coaching. I said my hand was feeling good again and I’m ready to fight.”
Coming back to this fight, Kent will also be stepping in to new territory. Not only will this be his first fight outside of Atlantic Canada but this will be his debut at Light-Heavyweight. Usually when a fighter moves to another weight class, the move is a drop down instead of up. Taking some time off plus some other difficulties were key reasons to make the jump.
“I always had a little bit of trouble making 185 and that was training all the time, trying to stay in shape and the cut was becoming more and more difficult,” says Kent. “With the hand injuries and the time that I took off for myself training, it was a time where I did put on a little weight. I was normally walking around 210-215 and then cut down to 185. In my time off I went up to about 230. It just makes sense to take a Light-Heavyweight fight and stay here. I don’t think I will be a tiny 205 but I definitely won’t be the biggest but with being a little smaller comes speed and agility. Maybe for me, 185 is still a little ways away, probably another year or two but I wanted to fight right away.”
The other intriguing part for Kent’s comeback is that he is not taking an easy fight. Chemelli (9-2) recently beat Simon Marini at AFC 9 back in June and is a Top 10 ranked Canadian fighter. Usually when a fighter makes a comeback, he will try and shake out the ring rust by taking a fighter he should be able to beat on paper. The reason why Kent, a Top 10 Middleweight, is putting his undefeated record on the line Friday is because of his love of the sport.
“I don’t think there is going to be ring rust because I have been in the gym most of the time,” says Kent. “For the amount of time you spend away from your family, the time you spend in the gym, the torture, the diet, the clean living and healthy eating, it’s not worth it if you’re going to go in there and roll over a bum. I would rather be 10-2 or 10-5 and fought legit guys then be 15-0. I think I can hang with these guys even though I haven’t fought them yet. I believe I can be a top 205er in the country and I can give it my all. I don’t think I’m a cakewalk for anyone. Chemelli is a big daunting task and I am ready for it for sure.”
While Chemelli will be the toughest fight to date for Kent, only he will know if his speed and agility can be the difference maker.