Catching up with Cleburn Walker
05 May 2010
Cleburn Walker is dreaming just as big as he was before he was defeated, injured and eliminated from The Ultimate Fighter earlier this year.
The twenty-six year old from Mineral Wells, Texas entered his fight with a professional record of 9-4; almost triple the experience of his opponent, Kris McCray.
Within fifteen seconds, McCray had tossed Walker to the floor. Walker immediately clutched his separated shoulder and verbally submitted.
"I felt as comfortable as I do driving to the grocery store," Walker said of his state of mind just before the fight. "Probably too comfortable. That was my eighth fight in a ten-month period. So, I had been training twice a day, six days a week, for a very long time and was probably a little burnt out to be honest."
If he was indeed feeling burned out, perhaps this debilitating injury was just what he needed.
"Man, I feel great!" Walker said. "I haven't felt this mentally motivated for almost a year. All this down-time is making me feel like the world is passing me by, so as soon as I'm healthy, I'm gonna hit the gate running!"
According to his doctors, that gate opens in August, which is apparently "much, much faster" than they originally anticipated. Walker has even asked his manager to set up a fight for October.
Meanwhile, he'll be keeping himself busy, reading and planning his comeback.
"All this down time with no way to do any training has allowed me to focus on the mental aspects of fighting," he explained.
"I've been doing lots of reading on sports psychology and re-evaluating how I train, who I train with, and how to be aware of what conditions get me in my best physical and mental condition to fight. I've learned that although I had less skills, I was much more successful a year ago when I did things my way and wasn't taking so much advice from other people. At the end of the day, fighting is about the individual and his spirit."
Walker's record seems to support his findings. In his first two years of fighting, he lost only his first fight and then won his next six. In 2009 alone, he had seven fights and lost three of those.
Some believe that fate will forcefully and yet mercifully intervene to signal a time of reflection. Walker is reflecting all the way back to the beginning.
"Although my career goals started shifting this last year," he said, "now they are the same as when I started fighting: Try as hard as I can to absolutely demolish anybody dumb enough to fight me and become the scariest fighter in the world some day."
"As far as who [I will fight] and for what organization, I have an awesome manager [who] will take care of all that. But I think it's safe to say that the UFC is where I'm headed, and I will be there very soon."