There’s no doubt that many things can affect MMA fighters beyond the opponents put in front of them. No matter the skill level put up against a fighter, the factors of their own physical health, mental health, life issues and more can sometimes be a huge factor in their performance. Those battles a fighter faces are sometimes just as big as the ones in the cage.
Light heavyweight Fabio Cherant is not shy to admit the past year has been rough for him. His return fight in 2020 came just days after attending the funeral of his uncle. Now ahead of a championship fight against Myron Dennis at an LFA card Friday, he is dealing with the loss of his mother.
The weight that the loss has carried for Cherant is something he said he has dealt with well. He feels this situation has allowed him to show he can overcome obstacles.
“I thought after losing my Mom I was going to be pretty messed up but it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve been pretty motivated and I’ve never been this motivated or had this kind of mindset going into a fight before,” said Cherant in an interview with Knockdown News.
The relationship that Cherant had with his mother in recent years was different from how it was for a long time. The experience of being a foster child was one that made him develop anger – towards his mother and towards experiences he didn’t understand.
Cherant remembers hearing classmates in high school complain about their parents. The issues people would mention would sound so minuscule compared to what he dealt with. While he described that he had “been through the wringer,” Cherant constantly heard his peers complain about much less.
“My mindset has been different for a long time. I’ve had to grow up at a really young age,” he said.
Cherant’s attitude towards his mother changed a couple of years ago. Around the holidays, a part of every year where he said he struggles, he started to think about his outlook on life.
“I got caught in my feelings a little bit. I started thinking about stuff, and that’s when I was like ‘I gotta be appreciative of the way I grew up,’” said Cherant.
Heading into his upcoming fight, Cherant claims the loss of his mother will help him stay focused. Instead of it tearing him down, he will look to only rise up.
“Now that she’s passed away the only thing I can think of is ways to prove that I can’t be broken … I’m going to use this as motivation: for fighting [and] for life,” said Cherant.
Cherant’s title shot comes after a strong return to the cage in 2020. After a year-long break to heal a jaw injury, he returned to pick up two wins on the regional scene last year.
The first of his two fights saw him overcome numerous obstacles. Cherant was returning from his first loss as a pro, which came on UFC TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” He was coming back after his jaw injury. He was fighting amid a pandemic. And he had lost his uncle that fight week.
“I was going through a weird phase of not knowing if I could do this,” said Cherant, explaining his emotions heading into that week.
He made quick work of his opponent, submitting him in the first minute of action with an anaconda choke. While he missed weight for that fight, he explains that he was “mentally checked out” due to the recent loss of his uncle.
Cherant last competed in October, where he defeated Yu Ji on a CES card. The fight was his first time going to scorecards. Now in his next fight, Cherant could go even longer: potentially 25 minutes. He said he looks forward to the prospect of going five rounds in his upcoming title fight.
“It’s two more rounds, if it even goes that far, that I show people why I belong in the UFC.”