These are the words Serhiy Sidey spoke as he discussed the transition from his first professional loss to Mateo Alejandro Vogel to shutting down the world two weeks later due to the coronavirus pandemic last spring.
Rather than dwell on the defeat and bemoan the lack of opportunities available in Canada’s regional mixed martial arts scene, the 25-year-old Burlington, Ont. Native considered the long period without events and without. chances to enter the cage as an opportunity. to study the mistakes he made in this fight and work to erase them, while sharpening the rest of his weapons for his inevitable return.
“I went through this fight a million times with my coaches and we found all the little, minor mistakes I was making and we took the time to develop the skills,” said Sidey, who returns to action on Friday night. , defending his BFL bantamweight title against Ali Wasuk in the BFL 70 main event, which airs exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS. “The fact that the pandemic is happening has really given me time to work on my skills.
“Usually it’s fighting, taking a little time to develop skills and taking another fight, but taking that much free time has allowed me to improve my skills,” he added. “It’s all about perspective.
That line, those four words – “It’s all about perspective” – are a big part of what makes Sidey such an intriguing prospect and a promising fighter to follow as he heads into his first title defense this. weekend.
There is a maturity in his approach, in his understanding and appreciation of where he is in his career, the opportunities available to him and the rewards that come from spending almost a decade in his career. coach alongside some of the best Canadian talent in the sport, including former Ultimate Fighter Josh Hill and Contender Series veteran Anthony Romero.
A lot of people speak in clichés about setbacks being opportunities for returns and finding the bright side in every situation, but translating those words into action and really using every obstacle placed in front of you as a real chance to grow are the things that set them apart. great fighters are good fighters, and over the past couple of years, Sidey has been doing it.
He was supposed to face Wasuk in June in a battle for the vacant BFL bantamweight title, but the Coquitlam native failed to weigh himself in the morning before the fight, resulting in the fight being abandoned and the job that Sidey had done to prepare for the contest to be for naught. Instead of wallowing in frustration, he flew home and walked straight into the gym, and when Battlefield called with the opportunity to fight Gerico “Gio” Plato in late September, he was ready to go. make the most of it.
“Honestly, I love the feeling of going to someone else’s hometown, someone else’s house and getting that gold, bringing it back to my city,” said Sidey, who returned to Vancouver and subdued Plato in under 90 seconds to claim bantamweight. Title. “It was a cool experience.
“I really enjoyed the feeling of being in enemy territory. I had three of my friends in the crowd and everyone else was my opponent’s supporters but man when it was time to go I was in the zone and really shining in those lights.
Rather than linger for the moment and daydream about the championship victory celebrations and the time off, Sidey almost immediately began to think about the next step – not because he didn’t want to savor his triumph, but because of those four words – “this is perspective” – and he understood the situation perfectly.
“As soon as I won this fight with Gio and was in the back room, I was already thinking about the next fight and wanted this fight with Ali,” recalls Sidey, the invader from Ontario who won gold in BC by beating a promising local and knew he would be matched with another as soon as the opportunity arose. “I came home and rested for a few days, but didn’t suffer any injuries in that fight, so as soon as I recovered I was back at camp.
“I feel really good and really excited to go back and start over, especially with this long layoff.”
Despite what happened the last time he was scheduled to face Wasuk, the bantamweight title holder isn’t worried about it happening again this time around.
“I’m really excited and I know he’s going to put on some weight this time around,” he said of his opponent. “I know he has a good team around him, and they’re not going to make any mistakes anymore. I’m sure he’s going to be on point with this.
“I think Ali is a complete opponent,” Sidey continued, describing what Wasuk brings to the table and how he sees Friday’s main event unfold. “I know he’s trying to lead the fights on the ground from the cage and look for those submissive finishes, but that’s what I’ve been developing over the past two years.”
Where some contestants would wither from the weight of traveling across the country and competing in front of a partisan crowd, Sidey relishes the opportunity, demonstrating the maturity and perspective that guides her every professional step.
“There are only a limited number of people who have these opportunities, so I want to take full advantage of them and I am very grateful to them,” he explained. “I didn’t feel any pressure; I felt the excitement more than anything. I know at the end of the day when I get these kinds of opportunities, I have to go 100% because I might not have them anymore.
“I love chasing that feeling of fighting and being on such a big stage, under those lights. I’m addicted to chasing that feeling, so I’m really excited to go back.
And he wants to use his first title defense at Friday’s BFL 70 main event as a chance to introduce himself to a larger audience and put himself in a position to take another step forward in his career next year. .
“I’m definitely looking for a finish,” he said clearly, stating a fact more than offering a hopeful prediction or projection. “I want something big; another striking finish. I want a performance that will draw attention to me.
“(After getting that win) maybe I would like to win one more, do it awesomely, and either get something with the Contender Series, or keep fighting, defend my title until that I get this shot.
“My ultimate goal is to be in the UFC. I’m really grateful to be a BFL champion, but my goal is to be the UFC and that’s the only thing I’m focusing on. No matter what it takes to get there, I’ll keep going until I get there.