clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Efrain Escudero Hopes to Fight His Way Back Into UFC With Shine Fights Deal

Efrain Escudero didn't dance around his reasons for deciding to sign with Shine Fights after being cut by the UFC following his most recent loss.

"I was offered pretty good money and for [a contract] that wasn't for more than one year," Escudero told MMA Fighting on Wednesday afternoon. "Eventually I want to make my run back to the UFC and prove to Dana White and everybody else that I can do the job they hired me to do."

The chance to sign a year-long, three-fight deal rather than get locked down in a longer agreement played a major role in his decision-making process, said Escudero, who described the decisions facing him after his release from the UFC following a loss to Charles Oliveira in Sepember as "very difficult."

"Why they released me, I have no idea," Escudero said. "Do I feel bad? Yes, I feel bad. But I have to put it aside. We don't live in the past."

According to UFC president Dana White, the UFC cut Escudero because he got complacent after winning "The Ultimate Fighter" and getting a big push from the organization, and that was reflected when he missed weight before his fight with Oliveira.

"I think that Efrain, he got comfortable, man," White told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani before UFC 119. "He came off the show, was doing all these huge media tours throughout Mexico and everywhere else, Bud Light stamped all over him, and wasn't performing. You know, when you come out and perform the way that he did and you don't make weight just shows that you're really not that serious about it."

To Escudero, those words from his former boss not only stung, they also didn't offer him much closure on the situation, he said.

"It was a little devastating for me to hear those things, because I did everything the UFC asked of me. They said, 'You've got to come to the Expo in Boston a week and a half or two weeks before your fight.' I didn't ask any questions; I got on a plane and I went," he said. "I didn't make weight once. It was very devastating for me because I know my body and I tried and tried and the weight wouldn't come down. For them to be like, you didn't make weight so you're out, I don't know. I mean, I didn't have consecutive losses or anything."

Escudero has yet to get a date or an opponent for his Shine Fights debut, but said he hopes to fight some time in January. And while Drew Fickett might be Shine's top lightweight after winning the one-night tournament on September 10, Escudero ruled out the chances that the two would meet in Shine's ring.

"Drew Fickett fights there and he was the champ of their tournament, but I wouldn't want to fight Drew. Drew was my mentor. He was the guy who introduced me to MMA, so I would never want to fight him just because of the respect that we have for each other."

Shine Fights COO, Jason Chambers, said he was aware of Escudero's aversion to fighting Fickett before the deal was inked, but wasn't quite so final about dismissing all possibility of future fight between the two.

"I already knew they had a relationship, so I knew it was one of those situations where they'd probably only fight if it was for a belt or something down the road," Chambers said. "I thought [Efrain] probably wouldn't want to fight Drew. Drew, you know, he couldn't care less who he fights."

Chambers also didn't bristle at Escudero's comment that his ultimate goal was to return to the UFC. While he thinks Shine is an up-and-coming organization that has signed some "household names" for upcoming events in 2011, Chambers said, he doesn't kid himself when it comes to the appeal of the UFC.

"I think that if anybody wants to be a fighter, their goal is the UFC. Based on the fact that the UFC has such a large market-share, and the UFC has clearly the deepest pockets, it makes sense. But in the interim, do I think that precludes us from putting on great fights and signing guys and being competitive? No. I think Strikeforce, Bellator, and a lot of the other guys have shown that you can put on exciting fights outside of the UFC."

As for Escudero, he said the end of his run with the UFC taught him a great deal about what not to do as a fighter, and fans should expect to see him implement those lessons when he debuts for Shine.

"Expect fights out of me when you see me. I'm going to bring it. I started caring too much in the UFC. I started caring about the record and who I was fighting and everything. Not anymore. I'm back to being the same guy you saw on "The Ultimate Fighter" – a hungry guy who's going to do what he has to do."

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting