There are moments when Mike Richman can appreciate the praise he received for one of the craziest rounds in combat sports since his fight for the BKFC light heavyweight title this past February. There are also times when he never wants to hear about it again.
The fight unfolded in dramatic fashion, as Richman nearly finished Lorenzo Hunt with a barrage of punches in the opening round, only for Hunt to miraculously survive and then deliver a punishing shot of his own, which put Richman down and out on the canvas.
It was arguably one of the craziest exchanges in combat sports history, so Richman understands why fans loved it so much. He just wishes it didn’t come at his expense.
“I have moments where it’s like, it was still a great fight for the fans, for both of us to go out there and showcase our skills at a high level, and then there’s other scenarios where it’s like, f*** that, move forward and don’t talk about it,” Richman told MMA Fighting.
“What I took away from it was when it comes to fist fighting, when it comes to bare-knuckle fighting, I know I can compete at any level, even a much heavier weight class. I think it showcased both scenarios. I can still compete with these big guys and I can still put it on them, but it also showcases that big guys also hit harder, and if you move into a shot you don’t see, you can be put out.”
Richman eventually put it all into perspective when he began to realize that it’s just the nature of the fight game — sometimes you’re the hammer, and other times you’re the nail.
He also knows he’s not the first person to endure such a shocking turn of events, which is why he was eventually able to accept the compliments that came along with the fight while simultaneously committing himself to moving past the loss.
“That was my Cheick Kongo–Pat Barry moment,” Richman said, referencing a similar outcome in a UFC fight back in 2011. “It’s unfortunate. It sucks. You’re there to have the whole bare-knuckle world in your hands and it just kind of falls through your fingertips. You’ve just got to get back up and keep moving.”
Truth be told, Richman took the fight because he had already exchanged words with Hunt through interviews and social media, but the bout took place at light heavyweight, which was never his natural division.
In fact, Richman was in talks for a middleweight title fight against then-champion Francisco Ricchi, but then he was offered the opportunity to clash with Hunt instead and he happily accepted. That’s why Richman is willing to run it back with Hunt, but only for his own self-satisfaction, because deep down he knows he’s not a light heavyweight fighter.
“I think for me, my only desire to go back up to [light heavyweight] would be to run it back with Lorenzo,” Richman said. “I want to get the loss back. In order to be considered the best in the sport, I would definitely want to run back the rematch, because it was so close and it was such a great fight.”
In the wake of that defeat, Richman didn’t have to wait long for another big fight, as BKFC came calling with an offer to face David Mundell with the middleweight title on the line.
Obtaining middleweight gold was always his long-term plan, so Richman appreciated that the organization recognized his potential to fight for a title even after a defeat.
“I was slightly surprised but I was super happy and grateful,” Richman said. “I took it as the company, the promotion, still values my talent, still values the showcase fights I’ve put on and being in all main events and one co-main event. I think they valued me for that.”
He also knows that Mundell wants to build his name off of an established veteran, which is probably part of the reason why he got the fight.
Richman can’t fault Mundell for that, but he’s also not rolling over for anybody.
“No offense to Mundell, he just hasn’t had the big draw fights,” Richman said. “He’s just always flown under the radar, and let’s be honest, he was never known as a knockout guy. He wasn’t a knockout guy in his MMA career and he wasn’t really a knockout guy when he transitioned to BKFC.
“Now he’s on a two-fight knockout streak, he’s feeling himself, and what better chance to test that than to test my chin to see if it’s still good. Let’s get after him. Of course, they’re coming to try and make a name off of me.”
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