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Safe to say he’s one of the folks who believes everything happens for a reason?

“Yes, I am one of those guys that believe that, and I say it more often than I care to admit,” he laughs.

On Saturday night, Dober competes on the main card of UFC 259, fighting Islam Makhachev on the biggest show of 2021 thus far. It’s a spot he earned the hard way, through 15 UFC fights that have seen him hit the highs and lows of the sport along the way. And with wins in six of his last seven bouts, it may be safe to say he’s hitting his fighting prime at the age of 32. It’s all good stuff for the always-smiling lightweight, but there were still growing pains to get through, even after he made it to the UFC in November 2013, ones he has grown through and put to the side with his recent run of success.

View Dober’s Athlete Profile

“I just think it’s one of those things where I don’t let outcomes of fights or outcomes of life dictate what I believe in myself,” Dober said. “What’s that phrase? A win should not go to your head and a loss should not get to your heart. I just love fighting for what fighting is. I’m not into fighting for the money, the girls, the fans, the friends and all that stuff. I’m in it because I absolutely love it, so win or lose, it doesn’t matter to me. I absolutely enjoy this. In my 20s, around The Ultimate Fighter time, it felt like a job and I stopped enjoying it and I had to make that flip to enjoying it again, and that’s where I’m at today. What keeps me patient is the fact that I just enjoy the journey. I enjoy every moment and this fight coming up, I’m gonna enjoy every second I’m in that cage.”

At 32 years old, Dober isn’t far removed from his 20s, which means he doesn’t forget how he approached the sport then, even if some of those years feel like a blur when he thinks about the days going full speed ahead to chase goals he thought he was expected to chase as a young athlete trying to get there before that window of youth closed down.

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“I enjoyed it, but I was just biting down on the mouthpiece, pedal to the medal, running forward, taking risks and it wasn’t skillful, it wasn’t thought out, it was just me doing as much as I can as soon as I can do it,” he said. “And so my entire 20s and my entire career in my 20s made me tough. It put me in positions where I had to dig myself out of some holes. Now in my 30s, I’m easing up on the gas, I’m taking in the moments and I’m doing things more skillfully and I’m doing it with a smile on my face. And I feel like that’s what I was lacking in my 20s. It wasn’t hard as far as the work. MMA wasn’t hard for me. It was the fact that I thought I had to be miserable. Like I had to cut a tremendous amount of weight, I had to do all these sprints and get beat up and spar as much as possible and just be miserable. And you didn’t have to do that. And so since I took a step back and I started enjoying life and enjoying the process, wins started happening for me.”


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