Lyman Good’s UFC 249 preparation ‘an absolute test of supreme focus’

Lyman Good | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lyman Good is doing everything he can to remain focused on UFC 249.

With the world in a state of uncertainty, along with the unknowns surrounding the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Good is slated to face Belal Muhammad April 18 at a location to be determined.

UFC President Dana White is insisting the event will move forward behind closed doors and that’s enough for Good to soldier on with his preparation.

“In my mind, the fight is real and I’m preparing for April 18,” Good told MMA Fighting. “Nothing’s really changed other than taking precautions and necessary measures to ensure, not just my own safety, that I’m not getting into much contact with other people.”

Understandably, many fighters in Good’s position would be concerned with finding where they will hold their next training session, let alone if the fight will actually take place. “Cyborg,” who will look to build upon his impressive third-round TKO finish of Chance Rencountre at UFC 244, has used this experience to learn a valuable lesson mentally.

“This is an absolute test of supreme focus,” Good explained. “While all of this craziness is happening, it’s all about putting your blinders on, staying the course and doing what you still need to for something you’re not really certain is going to happen.

“What we can control is the one thing we should be diligent about and focus most of your energy on. If I’m in control of my piece of mind, and the information I let in, I’m going to focus on that.

“You can’t control the craziness of the world and everything that’s going on. Unfortunately, it is real and there is a pandemic that is happening. I hope everyone is safe and healthy, and that’s all anyone can ask for. The best things we can do is focus on the things we can control: no TV’s, no going on the internet and looking up all of this craziness, because a lot of this is people panicking.”

A lot of fingers have been pointed at White and the UFC for attempting to move forward with UFC 249—as well as the rest of the calendar year—with the coronavirus continuing to take the world by storm. The 34-year-old Good is taking a more appreciative approach.

“I do want to thank Dana White for doing his absolute best to try to make it happen,” Good stated. “At the end of the day, this is very difficult for us as fighters to put in the time, put in the camp in the midst of all this chaos. We’re still doing what we can to prepare, while also putting our health on the line.

“I do want to thank him and the brass for really trying to make this happen for us because we really want to make this fight happen. I wholeheartedly want this to go through. I’ve been training very hard for it and I’m excited for it if we can still manage to get the card to happen without anyone getting sick or infected.”

Good is in his 15th year as a professional fighter and throughout his career, he has experienced a lot. From wins and losses, to injuries, to being flagged by USADA for a tainted supplement for his originally scheduled bout with Muhammad at UFC 205, there’s not much that can throw the New York native off.

“As a fighter, there’s already so many risks that we already take,” Good said. “There’s nothing really new to us if you think about it when it comes to the risk factor.

“The other element of it is, as a professional that’s been doing this for a long time, you have to be able to roll with the punches and be flexible with the changes that might happen. They happen all the time. Sometimes a fighter doesn’t make weight, or gets injured, or you might have to relocate, so it kind of comes with the territory anyways.

“For me, personally, I’m a New Yorker at heart. We’ve been through a lot of stuff and every day is craziness. I’m just tapping into that New York toughness and whatever happens, happens. It’s all up to the guy upstairs and I’m ready to travel wherever they send us to fight.”

In a fight more than three years in the making, Good and Muhammad are scheduled to finally square off in a little over three weeks. Muhammad has won his last two fights—and six out of his last seven—heading into the welterweight bout and will make a strong case to crack the top-15 with a victory on April 18.

Good believes he is among the division’s elite and aims to prove it when the matchup comes full circle.

“It was a matter of time that we were going to fight,” Good said. “We were supposed to fight years ago so it’s been a very interesting loop that lead to today.

“I think it’s a great matchup and every person that’s been put in front of me, it’s an opportunity for me to show the best version of myself and prove to the world that in the top-10 is where I belong. Belal Muhammad is just one person that’s stepping in my way.”

Since making his Octagon debut in July 2015, Good has flip-flopped wins and losses—finishing all three of his victories via strikes.

The ability to finish fights in devastating fashion is only one of the many intangibles, according to Good, that separates the two 170-pound competitors.

“I think the first thing is power,” Good said. “Everyone associates me with power, but then there’s volume, along with the level of heart and intensity that I’m going to come out there with.

“I feel very confident. Confidence has given me a lot of legroom in fights. When I’m confident, I do my absolute best and it’s created a version of me that I haven’t even tapped into yet. I’m going to go out there and show him the type of power that he’s never felt before, but I’m also ready for a long war.”

It’s no secret that Good, and every other fighter scheduled to compete at UFC 249 and beyond, wants the event to move forward. Good will continue to prepare for his bout with Muhammad in hopes of improving his status in on of the UFC’s deepest divisions, along with putting money in the bank.

In addition, Good feels that the event is something that can provide a sense of normalcy in a period where things are far from normal.

“Another way to look at it is, we’re people going out there to help create a distraction with all the other craziness going on,” Good stated. “There’s not a lot of sports going on, if any, in the midst of this stillness. I think it will be kind of cool to have an event to watch and distract everybody from all of the negativity that’s going on.

“I’m happy to provide that and I’m excited to go out there with all the other fighters and do that for everyone.”

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