Lyman Good has faced physical and emotional turmoil ahead of UFC on ESPN 11 on Saturday.
Originally scheduled to compete in April, Good was pulled from his fight against Belal Muhammad after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was the first known fighter on the UFC roster to test positive for the deadly disease.
After recovering, Good’s fight with Muhammad was rescheduled for June 20, but sadly, he faced a personal tragedy a few weeks ago when his father died of natural causes.
“It’s definitely been a long road,” Good told MMA Fighting on Thursday during the UFC on ESPN 11 media day. “The other thing that also happened, a few weeks ago my father had passed away. So it’s been roller coaster ride, emotionally, physically, on all levels.
“But for me, one of the things we’re trained in as martial artists is to learn how to maintain the integrity of your focus. Just stay the path no matter what happens. Stay the course. Cause at the end of it, you’re going to feel a lot better about yourself knowing you stuck to your path. You trained hard and you kept at it. So I’m definitely looking forward to this fight. I’m excited to go out there and make everybody proud.”
The loss of a parent is almost indescribable, and Good definitely carries a heavy heart following his father’s death. Considering everything he’s gone through, no one would blame him for bowing out of his fight, and he certainly considered the possibility before making his final decision.
“It’s hard to answer that,” he said when asked whether he considered bowing out. “There was a lot going through my head at the time. I felt like for me to not fight would be an injustice to his honor and to his name.
“I felt like if anything, try to use this as an opportunity to go out there – it’s literally a day before father’s day. I said to myself, ‘Let’s go out there and let’s do this for him.’”
As far as bouncing back from COVID-19, Good admits that the virus definitely hit him hard. But he believes his physical condition helped stave off the worst of the disease.
“There’s so much information out there and it’s misleading – it’s confusing,” Good explained. “There’s a lot of fear that’s being put behind that information as well. As far as me, I can only speak from my experience. I caught it at the time that I was in camp, so I think because of that, because of the shape that I was in, my conditioning, my health, my lungs, and just overall how great shape I was at the time, it did in a way help to overcome it and not have the same effects of it as the average person.
“For me, I think it was more just physical. It was in my body. I felt it. I did feel it in my lungs. I felt it in my energy. I was very fatigued. I just felt a lot of achiness and stuff. I went through a lot of symptoms, pretty much what you’re hearing out there.”
Doctors and researchers are still learning about the long term effects of COVID-19 with patients experiencing a multitude of different issues after battling back the initial effects of the disease. In Good’s case, he was able to bounce back rather quickly, which then allowed him to book his fight with Muhammad just two months after they were initially scheduled to meet on the first scheduled date for UFC 249.
“I think it was a blessing for me at that time, [I] had been training for a fight,” Good said. “Because I think the health from that camp got me through the COVID virus a little easier than most people.”