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46° Good Afternoon
SportsMixed Martial Arts

UFC's Eddie Gordon says support from teammates helped soften blow

Josh Samman knocks out Eddie Gordon to win

Josh Samman knocks out Eddie Gordon to win their fight during the UFC 181 event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Dec. 6, 2014 in Las Vegas. Credit: Getty Images

Highlight-reel knockouts excite the crowd and the fight promoters. They put a buzz in the air and they live on through Instagrams, Vines, gifs, compilation DVDs and TV shows.

That's all good for the sport of mixed martial arts -- except for the fighter on the wrong end of such an event.

"I was furious," said Freeport's Eddie Gordon, the guy who fell to the ground after getting kicked in the head by Josh Samman at UFC 181 last December. "I remember him throwing a kick, I must have drilled it a thousand times with Eric [Hyer]. When he throws the kick, come with the overhand right. I saw it."

But what the world still sees is Samman's left shin blasting Gordon in the face and knocking him out before he even hit the ground, a fact Gordon has been reminded of this week as he returns to the octagon to fight Chris Dempsey at UFC on Fox 15 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Not exactly the most positive thing to have to discuss while cutting weight and mentally preparing to step in the cage for the first time since that fight. Gordon expected it, though.

"I've got tough skin," said Gordon, 31. "Being a Jamaican immigrant helps. When I was growing up, kids made fun of me day in day out, picked on me. I was the different kid. The kid with an accent, the kid that wore funny clothes."

Where Gordon found comfort in dealing with that loss was in his teammates and corner. Matt Serra, a former UFC welterweight champion and Gordon's jiujitsu coach, has been through this before. He began his UFC career in 2001 by getting knocked out with a spinning backfist by Shonie Carter.

Those fights share a similarity beyond the result. Gordon and Serra both were controlling the bouts before the final strike landed.

"The best thing about that fight was you were winning the whole fight," Gordon recalled Serra telling him. "You made a mistake, that's all."

Better for that result to occur earlier in Gordon's career than later. Gordon (8-2, 1-1 UFC), who won Season 19's "Ultimate Fighter" middleweight competition last July, is still young in the sport. But he's not quite ready to let his defining moment be someone else's glory.

"I'm not going to be gun shy, I'm ready to go back in there and make it happen," said Gordon, who played football for Fordham in the mid-2000s. "You're only as good as your next fight, so let's make everybody forget about that one with a great performance now."

New York Sports