UFC lightweight Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke is set to return to the Octagon at UFC 215, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on September 9, 2017, after spending a year and some change on the sideline. Clarke is looking to get back on track following a July 2016 loss to Joseph Duffy, and will be squaring off with the 11-3 Alex White. Before locking horns with White at Roger’s Place, Clarke caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss how to get back in the game following a devastating loss, UFC 215 stylistics, and of course commented on his Jackson/Wink teammate, Jon Jones.
- Staying busy during the year + layoff:
“I’ve been teaching a lot and training. After I recovered from my knee injury, I got my black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Just teaching and training a lot. I was running a business, and just working on being a well rounded human. doing my best.”
- Falling short to Joseph Duffy at UFC Fight Night 90:
“It sucked a lot because I trained super hard, and I was in really good shape. I got clipped, and one of my coaches brought up, ‘you get clipped in every fight.’ Unfortunately, it’s part of my M.O. but when I took a step, I just felt my knee pop in a couple places. That’s why afterwards, I had to be carried out of the cage. I went to lift my right leg when I was down, and half of my leg wasn’t moving. I thought my ACL was gone.”
- An honest take on a terrifying moment:
“In all honesty, and usually fighters don’t talk about this, but it’s almost one of the most terrifying moments, at least for me, being there under a tremendous athlete and fighter in Joe Duffy, and you can’t use your leg. I just tried to move; he took my back, softened me up, crushed my neck, crushed my throat, and that was all she wrote. It’s unfortunate. I was prepared for a much better performance for that, but unfortunately, things like this happen. For me, it’s just about moving on. That doesn’t define me; that performance doesn’t define my career... It sucks, but all power to Joe Duffy.”
- How does one move past defeat, and prepare for a return to action?
“I’m very fortunate. I have access to a sports psychologist, and that made a big difference. I think the biggest thing has been changing who I surround myself with in my life, in terms of keeping more positive people in my life. It’s a lot easier to be negative, especially now a days. It’s easier to take the negative route, and I feel like it’s a lot harder to stay positive all of the time, and be a positive person, and surround yourself with positive people. I’m very fortunate to have so many positive people in my life trying to spin things in a more positive way. Move forward from challenges, and overall being a well rounded human, and that includes fighting, training, and day to day stuff, too.”
- Returning to the roots for UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on September 9, 2017:
“I had a lot of my pro fights in Edmonton, when I first got going, so I’m very happy to be on such a great card. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity. Unfortunately, there’s not more Edmonton fighters on there. I feel like they’re missing out on guys like Sheldon Wescott and some of the other guys that are on their way up. There’s a lot of really good B.C fighters.”
- Resorting to a temper tantrum to ensure a spot on the Edmonton card:
“They originally wanted to put me on the Pittsburgh card, which is a week later, so I kind of like had a bit of a temper tantrum. They finally put me on the card, and I feel very fortunate.”
- The squeaky wheel gets the grease?
“Very true. Unfortunately, the way the sports going, to set yourself apart from the pack, you got to be heard.”
- Being no stranger to Alberta, were you a fan of Bret “The Hitman” Hart growing up?
“I used to live next to his mother-in-law when I lived in Calgary when I was super young. I like old retro pro wrestling and was a big “Hitman” fan, even when he switched to WCW. You got to love “The Hitman” Hart. I hope his health and everything is going well, and hopefully, maybe he’ll make it to Roger’s Place.”
- Perhaps we will see a Sharpshooter that ends the match?
“I’ll try my hardest haha.”
- Stylistics of UFC 215 opponent Alex White:
“I think it’s a good stylistic matchup for me. He had trouble with the big, strong grapplers. He’s good at drawing guys into a slugfest, so the big thing is to not let him get going in that direction. I think he’s going to be a little bit smaller, like he’s taller than me, but 155 guys are pretty big. I’m a big 155’er. I think it’s a good matchup. He’s tough; I’m tough. We’re both gritty. I think it has potential to be a really good fight, hopefully Fight of the Night. Both of us like bonuses, I think.”
- In his last fight, Alex White inadvertently kneed Tony Martin in the groin, shattering his cup. Will you be bringing a spare cup with you to the Octagon?
“I am now, shit! I didn’t know about that. I have the Diamond cup, which I remember John Maguire kneed me right up the pipe pretty hard. It leaves that tingling where your kidneys hurt later. It was definitely unfortunate for Tony Martin, but I always got an extra cup with me just in case.”
- Training at Jackson/Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico:
“ It’s such a great place for training in terms of having access to so many coaches, so many great training partners, people who can mimic fighters, guys who can push me, motivate me, make me better, and the facility is great. I also have acces to Elite Ortho Therapy with Dr. Beau Hightower. I’m at elevation as well, which makes the first part of camp super crumby, but after that you feel better.”
- Your Jackson/Wink teammate Jon Jones has been flagged for a USADA violation; what’s your reaction?
“We don’t know all of the details until the B sample or whatever. It’s such a obscure thing, too, when I was looking at it, what they’re accusing him of. I don’t really know enough about PED’s, especially with something that was used in the 1960’s by the East Germans. So, it’s so obscure, I really know nothing about it. As we were talking earlier about being more positive, it’s really easy to just jump and to react right away. For me, I’m going to stand by him until anything says otherwise... I’m hoping it was a false positive. I hope the best for Jon, and I have to say you’re innocent until proven guilty. I think it’s easier to just be like, ‘GUILTY,’ unfortunately I disagree. He trains his butt off, and I hope nothing but the best for him.”
- Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor?
“I got Floyd, but I got him by decision. Everyone’s picking for him to demolish him, but I think it’s going to be tougher to demolish Conor than what they think. I actually think Conor can win a couple rounds for sure, but Floyd has that pedigree.”
- What is next for “Danger Zone?”
“Right now I’m kind of just looking at September 9th, but I want to compete more. I want to compete in No Gi worlds for Jiu-Jitsu. I want to be more active; I just want to enjoy my life. I want to get a puppy, and fucking hang out with my girlfriend, and watch retro cartoons. You know, all of the good things. Make chicken parm pizza, and all of the good stuff.”
Watch Mitch Clarke wage war with Alex White, at UFC 215 from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on September 9, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!