A tested Joey Beltran Ready for Second Octagon Stint
Newly minted UFC light-heavyweight Joey Beltran is making the most of a second chance to return to the UFC roster.
Five months removed from exiting the sport's premier organization following a loss to Lavar Johnson at "UFC on Fox 2." Beltran changed his career for the better as he shed weight to join the 205-pound division and scored a decision victory in his lone fight outside of the UFC before making his return.
Furthermore, Beltran traveled around California to seek out additional training and improved his mental game through the assistance of a sport’s psychologist.
"It definitely feels good, not only for my career as an MMA fighter but overall as a human being," Beltran recently told Heavy.com. "Eating healthy, being leaner, and less pain on the joints, just overall it's elevated the quality of my life, so it's good."
In addition to Beltran's decision to depart from the heavyweight division in order to make a new home at 205-pounds. He made trips to American Kickboxing Academy and "UFC on Fuel 4" headliner Mark Munoz' Reign Training Center in Southern California to hone his skillset alongside the sport's elite and get back to enjoying his career.
"That was the biggest thing I wanted to get back to," Beltran said. "Mentally, even though I was cut and technically unemployed if you look at it that way, I still had to get back to having fun. Having fun training which in turn leads to having fun in the fight and that's when I fight my best. When I'm out there having a good ol' time, a smile on my face, blood running down my face, and just letting it fly, not really over-thinking... Being able to work with (Daniel) Cormier, Luke Rockhold, and Cain Velasquez was an awesome experience.
“Really, I was just able to sit back and look at my career and also look at all the hard work I've put into it and really feel proud of myself and know I deserve to be here. I've paid the price and now I get the opportunity to go out perform for the biggest promotion in the world and fight on Fuel TV main card. That's huge. There's alot of great fighters that not only never get to fight in the UFC, but never get a win, or fight on main cards. So, I've accomplished alot and I'm proud of that."
Beltran made a name for himself by delivering multiple "Fight of the Night" performances and delivering slugfests during his first stint inside the Octagon.
However, outside influences often played to the popular fighter’s downfall during his prior losses in the UFC, and he doesn't plan on making the same mistakes this time around in order to deliver what he feels will be a career best performance against Te Huna.
"I really do, I'm really excited to go out there," Beltran said. "I feel I've not only prepared myself physically, but I was referred to a sport's physchologist by Dominick Cruz and Eric Del Fierro by the name of John Boerski. He really helped me put things in perspective and really get back into the whole reason why I'm fighting and who I'm fighting for. For a long time, I got caught up in so much other stuff and get flooded with all these other outside influences in my head as for what I need to do, what has to be done, why, if I don't win I'm not going to make this amount of money, or if I lose I'm going to embarrass all the people.
“All these emotions and fears were rushing into me literally right before I would walk out to the Octagon is when it would happen. So, I would walk out to the Octagon freaking out and I would get in there and freeze and if you watch my fights, all of my fights in the UFC I'm basically taking punches and getting kicked and be like "Oh" then I wake up and it ends up being a war and I'm getting stuck in these wars with people. It becomes real entertaining for the fans and everybody likes the way it looks on T.V., but I know I've never just gone out there and shown what I have and just layed it done like I know I can.
So, he helped me get everything lined up and my last fight went perfect, I was able to go through the necessary visualation exercises he had me do and I was really excited to come out for the first time and show how I know how to fight."
Beltran realizes that his return fight won't be an easy one as he faces an ever-improving Te Huna, who's won back-to-back fights by first-round knockout and he's trained accordingly to prove his worth tomorrow night on Fuel TV.
"He's a very tough individual; willing to stand and bang, really, really strong and explosive, very powerful, and maybe not the most technical wrestling but very powerful. He can power his way through takedowns, so James Te Huna, to me, represents a very solid opponent to show the bosses Mr. Silva, Mr. White, the Fertittas, the fans, and to myself that I belong here at the UFC competing with the best 205'ers in the world. Maybe he's not top-10, but he's scratching on the door about to breakthrough, so a win over him, like I said, makes a big statement to everybody that's concerned."