When David Heath enters the Octagon on August 25, 2007, for UFC 74: Respect, something will be different. This will be the first time in Heath’s professional fighting career that he will try to rebound from a loss. After a compiling a record of 9-0, which included two fights in the UFC, Heath was matched up with another undefeated fighter, Ryoto Machida. Three unsatisfying rounds later, Heath was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision. Fast forward four months and this time Heath is staring down another dangerous opponent, Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Will Heath be motivated from his first loss or will that feeling linger in his next fight? Here is what Heath told ADCC News.
ADCC: David talk about your last fight with Ryoto Machida. Did you think the judges had it right and what was he able to do that other fighters weren’t able to do to you? DAVID: I think they had it right with the exception of maybe one 10-8 (round), but it really didn’t matter at that point I guess. Honestly, it all boiled down to him sticking to his game plan and me deviating from mine. The plan was to be smart no matter how many boos I heard. I knew going in that his style would possibly make for a slower pace, so the plan was to be patient. I got bored about a minute in and my plan went out the window (laughs). I started working into his power intentionally to draw something that I could counter but only got a few openings. Although I don’t think it was much of a fight, I give Ryoto all the credit for a good job and I was very surprised at his footwork and foot speed.
ADCC: What are the positives that you are able to take from that fight? DAVID: That I need to work on my footwork and I guess to be a little more reckless when needed. I don’t know, like I said there wasn’t much of a fight so there wasn’t a lot to get from it.
ADCC: Now with your first professional loss behind you, is there some pressure off of you? DAVID: Not really. Actually there is probably more. With all the talent out there and me not having a big name yet, I have even more pressure to perform now.
ADCC: Well the pressure is definitely on you now because your next opponent is Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Is there anything special you’re doing training wise or is it business as usual? DAVID: Of course I’m training around his strengths, wrestling and BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) but pretty much business as usual. I am working with more pure BJJ guys than usual. As far as it not being any easier, I think that goes both ways. “Babalu” is obviously a very dangerous opponent but his style is perfect for me and there is a lot of tape out there on a guy as accomplished as he is. I’m looking forward to fighting him very much.
ADCC: Takes us through one of your usual workout days. DAVID: Weights first, frisbee with my labs, a little pool time, then in the gym in the evening for sparring or grappling. Maybe a little stadium running, intervals and thai pads mixed in.
ADCC: What is your assessment of Sobral as a fighter and what can you expect from him? DAVID: I expect one of us to get knocked out in the first couple of minutes or a two to three round absolute barn burner! He is a great fighter and always comes to finish his fights.
ADCC: Sobral is coming off two straight losses to Chuck Liddell and Jason Lambert. Did you see those two fights? And if so, did you see anything in those fights that will help you? DAVID: I’ve seen both several times and there are a few things that I took note of but you have no idea who is going to show up the 25th so who knows? I expect a very focused and hungry “Babalu“.
ADCC: In a perfect world for David Heath, what happens on August 25 and the Octagon cage closes? DAVID: Ideally, I would like to sub him. That’s not my pan at all though so that may be tough. I’m sure we will spend some time on the ground though. There are still a few goofballs out there that still think because you don’t train at a BJJ school that your outmatched on the ground by those that do so, it would be nice to do that for them. (laughs)
ADCC: Thanks for the time David and good luck. Anything to say to the fans or sponsors? DAVID: Thanks you guys very much. As always I can’t thank my fans and sponsors enough. The sport is about the fans so I hope I can entertain and the sponsors help me do that. I wouldn’t do it without the fans and couldn’t without the sponsors. So thanks again for both.