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That’s a fighter talking, and he knows that all the perks of being a professional athlete go hand-in-hand with winning, and it’s something Bukauskas knew intimately over the last four years as he won seven in a row, a stretch highlighted by a Performance of the Night finish of Andreas Michailidis in his UFC debut last July.

But three months later, Bukauskas felt the sting of defeat for the first time since 2016 when he was halted by Jimmy Crute. It was a disappointing defeat, and he had been there before, seeing exactly how fickle the world of mixed martial arts can be just a handful of fights into his pro career, when a 4-0 record turned to 4-2 in the space of two months.

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“I was fortunate that it happened very early on in my career,” he said. “I was 4-0, everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon, thinking this is the next big guy, he just trained with Jon Jones, loads of things, and then next thing you know, everyone turns their back as soon as you lose. And not only that, I lost a second one after that.”

In times like those, you learn who your friends are. And after losing to the Aussie up and comer, Bukauskas expected more of the same, but it wasn’t that way outside of the usual internet trolls.

 


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