Jack Hermansson has had a remarkable rise to potential title contender with a four-fight win streak capped by back-to-back victories over top-10 middleweights David Branch and Ronaldo Souza, and is quick to place credit where he believes it is due.
The 30-year-old Swede, affectionately known as “The Joker” due to his smile, shocked the MMA world with his two fights this year, particularly in his last performance against Souza where he outfought the grappling ace over five rounds to earn himself a unanimous decision victory and edge himself ever closer to the belt.
Hermansson recently spoke to Bloody Elbow and said that after seeking help from a mental coach, he is now able to fight to his ability rather than worrying about what his opponent may do to him inside the cage.
“I had confidence in my skills, but I was thinking about the sport like, ‘Even if I am so much better than my opponent, I can hit him 99 times, but if he hit me once, it can be over.’ And that lack of control, I felt like it doesn’t matter how much I prepare. It’s always gonna be a big chance that anybody can hit me on the chin and I’m going away, and that scared me and made me very, very nervous before my fights. I didn’t feel any connection to my body. It was very, very bad. Before the UFC, I had a couple fights where I felt like I could barely stand on my feet. Then, after that, I was so afraid that feeling was gonna come back to me. Before a fight, I was like, ‘Is it gonna happen this time? Is it gonna happen this time?’ That was in my mind all the time.
“You can see there is a big difference. I’m very, very confident that I’m going to go into a fight now without a mental breakdown, and that helps me to be able to perform closer to my abilities.”