“I’m in the race to be ‘The Baddest man on the Planet,’ and there is no bigger race than this. I’ve been training, learning, understanding the game, adapting a lot of things to my game, and sometimes it’s too much information. You’re fighting, you’re learning and it’s hard — it’s not easy; there is so much information, so you have to grab what you can grab, go in there, perform, and come back and learn again.

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“I don’t want that step back, but it is what it is, so you’ve got to deal with it,” he added, resigned to the reality of the situation. “That’s life and not everything in life goes perfectly, including fighting.”

After a blistering rookie campaign that saw him earn four stoppage victories in 11 months to push his overall record to 10-0, Rozenstruik split a pair of assignments in 2020, losing to current champ Francis Ngannou in May before rebounding with a second-round finish of former titleholder Junior Dos Santos in August that put him right back in the thick of the title chase.

February’s main event turn opposite Gane was highly anticipated and expected to be an explosive striking battle, but that wasn’t the case at all, especially for Rozenstruik, as the 33-year-old heavyweight landed just 42 significant strikes over the course of the five-round affair; the same number he registered in less than nine minutes against Dos Santos six months earlier.

“I couldn’t get loose in the fight, which was because of nerves,” admitted Rozenstruik. “It’s not how I’m used to fighting — I waited too long, I didn’t play the game I used to play, and got stuck in my head.