Zak Cummings (23-6 MMA) is looking for a top-15 fight in the middleweight division. After successfully defeating undefeated prospect Trevin Giles (11-1 MMA) at ESPN+ 10, Cummings is ready for the next challenge. His fight was the second fight on the prelims, and was one of the 9 finishes that night.
The middleweight veteran is looking to keep the momentum going as he looks to compete again before the year is over.
“You know, the end-all goal wasn’t to just compete in the UFC,” Cummings told The Scrap. “I wanted to get into the UFC and I wanted to win one fight. That was kind of the thing. I never really knew this would become what it has.” Cummings first appeared on The Ultimate Fighter Season 17, where he was Chael Sonnen’s third team pick. Since the show and a triumphant debut at The Ultimate Fighter 27 finale, Cummings has found himself a home with the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
“I didn’t know that [this] would become me being one of the best fighters in the world. I never thought this would become something that I can do as a career. Doing what I’m doing now, I never even knew me making it to the UFC would be a real thing. I didn’t know if it would happen, I didn’t know how or if I had the contacts to get into the UFC. Once I made my debut and got the win, finish and the KO of the night bonus, everything passed that has just been a plus”.
Since that fight, Cummings has amassed himself a 9-3 record, and has stayed with the company since 2012. Only a few fighters within the sport’s organization can say the same.
The Veteran vs The New Kid
Within this sport, it seems fans are always first to jump on the newest trending fighter. Giles, in his own right is a phenomenal fighter. However, Cummings is a seasoned vet. He has been in there with some of the best fighters in the world, in multiple divisions. He isn’t new to fighters coming in with hype. Cummings proved this by not only handing Giles his first professional loss, but also doing so as the underdog.
“I’ve fought so many undefeated guys and I’ve seen all there is to see in this sport. I really have. I’ve been around for a long time. Not that I’ve won every fight, but there’s not so much out there that surprises me anymore. I’ve fought a lot of undefeated guys, and I’ve beat a lot of undefeated guys. That’s just a mindset at that point. You don’t want to give this guy some extra clout, respect, or whatever you want to call it.”
Before this fight, it seemed that Giles was over-confident in some instances. On an interview, Giles predicted that he would be able to finish Cummings within the first two rounds. In fact, he said he would be surprised if he didn’t.
“Well, one, I don’t reach out and look at interviews, so I had no idea,” said Cummings. “Someone told me after the fact that he was going to try and knock me out in the second. First off, I don’t know who you are or anyone, not just him, who is going to fight me and has seen me fight, thinks they can knock me out. I don’t know where I’ve shown anything that that’s going to happen. I’m not going to say I can’t get knocked out because obviously, soon as I start saying that, I’m going to be waking up one day asking what happened. No one has ever knocked me down.”
It is true, Zak Cummings rarely gets knocked down and has never lost by knockout or technical knockout in his entire career.
The rest of 2019
We are half way through 2019, and this is Cummings first fight of the year. A successful one to that. All things considered, he is relatively uninjured from the fight. Of course, he will take the time to enjoy himself and rest, but he is looking for big things for 2019. Perhaps, if everything goes according to play, he will compete not once, but twice before the year is over.
“I will say this, in the practice room, I’ve sparred and trained with multiple world champions, number one contenders and top five guys. There’s nothing special about them. It’s not like they know some magical moves. I’ve won my rounds with them and I’ve lost my rounds with them. I’m capable of it. I am definitely good enough to be at that level”.
It is every fighters dream to be a champion. This much is obvious. But in the case with Cummings, he is truly a person who enjoys the sport. He enjoys fighting, training and everything required. He stated that if he was forced to retire, he would be extremely happy about his career. And for good reason too.
“I would love to get two more [fights] if I can,” said Cummings. “This was probably the soonest that I was able to make it in. I got a little cut, that’s about it. I just have to give it a week, and get these stitches out. I’ll get right back to work. I’ll sit down with the family, the coach and the management team, and we’ll all get together to figure out the plan. If I can get two more in I would be happy.”
To watch the exclusive interview with Zak Cummings, checkout TheScrap.co sponsored video podcast The Complete Knockout: