Brian Bowles explains prolonged absence from MMA, discusses upcoming fight with George Roop

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles spoke recently about his long hiatus from MMA, and also talks about his return to the UFC against George Roop later this May.

It has been quite a long time since Brian Bowles last fought in the UFC. The former WEC bantamweight champion lost to Urijah Faber at UFC 139 in San Jose, CA on November 19th, 2011, and effectively disappeared from the public eye. Bowles is scheduled to fight George Roop on the preliminary card at UFC 160 later this month, and he's still ranked in the top 10 (#8) in the UFC's bantamweight rankings. In an interview with MMA Fighting, Bowles discussed his long absence from the cage:

"Sometimes going in the gym, it wasn’t fun to me anymore," he said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I started doing this out of fun. I didn't start doing this because I wanted to fight in UFC. I just started doing it for fun. When it became my job, and all the pressure got on me, it quit being fun, the grind of it."

Unsurprisingly, injuries played a huge factor in Bowles not being able to return:

Bowles' issues were compounded by ongoing injuries. He broke his hand three times. He hurt his knee. He contracted staph infection. He was diagnosed with two bulging discs and two degenerative discs.

"When I sit out and try to come back, I have to come back so slow to get my back conditioned to it, that if I don't, I'll hurt myself," he said. "That actually happened to me. We tried to come back too fast, and then I ended up hurting my back and that would put me down for another month. Then before you know it, you're out 5-6 months without doing anything just from trying to take off a month or two."

Bowles' hands have historically been problematic; he lost his WEC title to Dominick Cruz when he broke his hand during the fight and could not continue.

The last reported salary for Bowles was $19,000, and obviously in losing to Faber he earned neither a win bonus nor a FOTN award. He described how he's been able to live without any income from his fights over the past year:

Bowles said the last 18 months of living without earning a fight purse have been a financial challenge. He's lived off his past earnings, as well as some investments he made. He's also tried to make extra money by teaching classes and giving private instruction.

Lastly, when asked about his early plans against George Roop, he had this to say:

Against Roop, he thinks the key is to find a way inside his range and put himself into position for takedowns.

Bowles vs. Roop airs on the Facebook portion of the UFC 160 preliminary card.

SBN coverage of UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2

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