Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rob McCullough expecting different results at WEC 39

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Things have changed for Rob McCullough (16-5 MMA, 7-3 WEC) since September 2007.

A first-round TKO win that month over Rich Crunkilton was McCullough's ninth-straight win and he was 13-1 in his past 14 bouts.

"When you have the belt and you know you're the top dog in the game at that point, you think to yourself, 'What I'm going to learn from anybody?'" McCullough recently told TAGG Radio (, the official radio partner of (

McCullough readily admits that he had grown complacent, and that it was that attitude that led to a 1-2 record in his next three fights.

"Sure you're going to have a trainer to help you keep sharp at stuff, but at that point I had the belt and I was doing my thing," McCullough said. "I wasn't doing it because I wanted to be the champ. I was doing it because I wanted to make enough money to buy a house. Along the way I got a belt and I was like, 'Cool.'"

When he lost that belt to Jamie Varner in February 2008, then lost to Donald Cerrone in November 2008, McCullough decided it was time for a change. The California resident changed things up by preparing for Sunday night's "WEC 39: Brown vs. Garcia" bout with Marcus Hicks at Las Vegas' Xtreme Couture.

"I sat back and I realized, 'Hey, you know what? I should change up my training,'" McCullough said. "'Maybe I'll get a different result.' The training out at Couture's is super-structured and it's high-caliber guys. It's pretty intense. It's fun."

McCullough said his "WEC 2008 Fight of the Year" nominated bout with Cerrone proved to him the time was right to make the adjustment.

"After my last fight with Cerrone I sat back and I said, 'You know what? I left it all in the cage that night,'" McCullough said. "'I did the best I could have done for my camp with the guys that I had with me.

"'The money's there right now. I don't have to worry about teaching class and stuff. Why don't I get out on the road and get a good trainer and take the responsibilities of me putting together my own camp and put it in someone else's hands if I have the money to pay for it?' So that's what I did.

"And I thought to myself, 'Who would be a good guy for that?' (Xtreme Couture striking coach) Shawn Tompkins, he's got (Mark) Hominick, he's got (Chris) Horodecki, he's got all these good [lightweights] that are all good at punching and kicking. That's my forte, and Las Vegas isn't that bad."

McCullough said his time at Xtreme Couture has been fruitful.

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