“The first couple of rounds I was just about trying to find my timing and stay relaxed, but every time I ate a body shot, it chipped away on the stamina meter,” Kingsbury (Pictured) said Monday during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I was in great shape going into this fight. You could tell when the second and third round came, I had just eaten so much damage to the midsection that I really didn’t have much left in the tank.”
To make matters worse, Maldonado smashed Kingsbury’s left eye with a punch in the third round, breaking his orbital bone.
“I was certainly in survival mode once he hit me in the eye,” Kingsbury said. “I couldn’t even see out of it. It was terrible.”
With that said, Kingsbury mounted his own offense in the bout, which won “Fight of the Night.” He outwrestled Maldonado and also scored with knees in the clinch. He might have done even more damage in the clinch if not for Maldonado’s body strikes.
“We had done a number of things to try to strengthen my stomach going into the fight, getting used to taking hits there,” Kingsbury said. “There’s just no way to really prepare for that kind of power and that kind of technique when he’s unloading like that to the body. That’s why you’d see I’d be in the clinch throwing knees and he’d bury one to the body, and I’d just let go. I had a perfect plum set up, but there was no way I was going to stay in there because I thought immediately, ‘Man, I can’t let that guy go off like that again.’”
It wasn’t just Maldonado’s body punches that packed power either.
“I’m not kidding when I say this: Every punch that guy threw hurt. No question at all,” Kingsbury said. “Every one to the midsection, every punch to the side of the head, all of them hurt. Honestly, only Cain Velasquez hits me that hard, but he’s got on 18-ounce gloves when we’re doing that. This guy had little gloves, and he just hit like a Mack truck. Everything was hurting.”
Yet Kingsbury stayed in the fight and pulled off his fourth straight win in the UFC. He had expected a war but not quite like the one Maldonado gave him.
“I just figured it was going to be a dogfight,” he said. “I had no idea it was going to be as hard as it was, but I figured on him being able to walk through everything I threw at him.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 55:00).