NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Duane “Bang” Ludwig has traveled the world, chased titles, met the woman of his dreams, had kids and finally got a long-awaited UFC record he’ll someday get to tell his grandchildren about.
So for the veteran fighter, Friday’s UFC on FX 1 co-main-event slot instead offers something else.
A chance for self-discovery. And yes, some fun.
Ludwig (21-11 MMA, 4-2 UFC), a 33-year-old who’s been fighting professionally for 12 years, meets fellow welterweight Josh Neer (32-10-1 MMA, 5-6 UFC) in the co-main-event of Friday’s event, which takes place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The main card airs on FX while prelims air on FUEL TV.
While lacking some of the starpower of bigger UFC shows – and with a half-dozen fighters competing in the UFC for the first time – UFC on FX 1′s expectations are modest. But the co-headliner provides two proven names in a fight that should produce fireworks.
“I want to make sure to show my technical superiority and hit some angles and not just sit there and slug,” Ludwig told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “We’ll see what happens. Like Mike Tyson said, you always have a game plan until you get hit, and I don’t want to get hit. I’ll get upset, I’ll pull the parking brake and start chucking bombs.”
Against the tough-as-nails Neer, Ludwig knows he can’t get caught up in a sloppy volley of haymakers. But if he maintains his composure, it could be a “Fight of the Night” winner. That’s why he was quite pleased when the UFC presented him the fight.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “I thought it’d be a good matchup for sure. He likes to stand and bang, and he’s a standup fighter as well. I think it’ll make for an exciting fight. I’m up for that. I’m always down for a good war.”
Whether it’s his age or his family or his status as an early trailblazer for the sport, Ludwig has found peace in recent years. Rather than the million-dollar paydays or blue-chip sponsors and big-show belts, he’s focused on something else.
“I’m here to have fun,” he said. “I’ve chased the titles and done that. It’s about the passion and self development and finding out who Duane Ludwig is. I find it out every time I train and fight, and go through these interviews and stuff.”
Recently, Ludwig has been doing a lot more interviews. That’s due to the UFC’s decision to recognize him as the record-holder for the fastest knock in the promotion’s history. Even if the Nevada State Athletic Commission claims Todd Duffee and Chan Sung Jung’s seven-second KOs have the honor (a time-keeping error has Ludwig’s six-second KO recorded at 11 seconds), the UFC’s blessing actually provided Ludwig a boost.
When he was younger, “Bang” said he didn’t understand publicity and marketing. He didn’t realize something as seemingly innocuous as getting stiffed in the record books could actually hurt his bottomline. But now that he’s older and has the record, he’s determined to use it for good.
“I get a lot more press, which is cool because I like the press and the fame and the whole popularity contest of it because it opens a lot more doors for me, and in return, I help some people out and help out abused animals,” said the fighter, who’s worked with abused and neglected dogs. “In that aspect, it’s important for me and definitely a good story to tell the kids when they’re older.”
And admittedly, it always irked him a bit. Sure, he’s at peace, but little things have a way of eating at you. So as he prepares for his first fight as a UFC record-holder, he can put to bed that constant aggravation.
“It became a little bit infuriating,” he said of the record. “It’s like telling someone the American flag is red, white and blue, and then someone’s like, ‘It’s red, white and purple.’ When it’s so blatantly obvious, it can be a little infuriating.”
For more on the UFC on FX 1 event, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.