For Luke Zachrich, it was much harder to get back to the UFC than getting on The Ultimate Fighter

The journey for Luke Zachrich started with a stint on the Ultimate Fighter 7 and he made his way back to the promotion earlier this year and is coming off a win at UFC 175 against Guilherme Vasconcelos.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Zachrich admitted on Friday’s edition of The MMA Report Live that he is a completely different fighter now than he was back in The Ultimate Fighter 7.

One of the biggest changes in Zachrich has been the ground aspect as he has seven career victories by submission. Early on in his career, he got more gratification by winning a fight by knockout, but now he gets more gratification by getting a victory by submission.

The Ultimate Fighter 7 took place over six years ago and people may wonder what was harder for Zachrich, getting into The Ultimate Fighter or getting back to the UFC?

“By far, getting back to the UFC, Zachrich said. “It’s been six year, maybe a little more since I was on The Ultimate Fighter. I got on pretty early in my fight career. I did not have a ton of fight experience at that point and I was not really mentally ready for that challenge. I have fixed a ton of stuff and my goal was to get back to the UFC.”

“I passed on a ton of different offers that came my way and it got to a point that I thought it was ever going to happen. I started doing some other things. I was thinking about retiring from fighting and getting into professional boxing. Stay active on the jiu-jitsu circuit, because that is something I love to do. I got the call and that is that. Now, I am here and having fun. I am enjoying myself and I get to do what I love.”

He will now be looking for his second victory in the UFC when he meets Daniel Kelly at next month’s UFC Fight Night 55 in Australia. This will mark the first time that Zachrich will fight outside of the United States and Australia is a huge time difference. To help with the time difference and jet lag, Zachrich is planning to head there earlier than he normally would for a fight.

“It’s kind of trick,” he said. “It’s a huge time difference so it’s not like fighting out in Vegas or something where you can stay up a couple of hours later and kind of adjust to the time ahead of the time. It’s one of those things. We are going to try to head out a little bit earlier. Get over there, train and spend the last week and a half or so of camp in Australia to adjust to the time. I think that is going to be the biggest thing for me. When it all comes down to it, a fight is a fight and we can do it here, we can do it there. It does not make a difference.”

His opponent, Daniel Kelly will offer a different skill set than he has seen before in his career. Kelly is a four-time Olympian and unlike wrestling, it’s tough to find high level judo practitioners to train with.

“It’s a complete new challenge. I do not think you can find somebody like Daniel,” Zachrich said. “He possess a very unique skill set. With his background in judo alone, its not like going out and finding high quality wrestlers and stuff like that. This guy is a four-time Olympian in judo and there is not a lot of high level judo practitioners out there and the ones that are not necessarily something that is easy to track those guys down. He possess a very different skill set. The guy is super tough, has an iron chin, and he is going to make this a fight for me.”

While some fighters may worry more about their opponents skill set than their owns, Zachrich feels this is a fight that is more about what he needs to accomplish.

“The way I look at it, I do not get too wrapped up in who my opponent is and what my opponents strength and weakness are,” he said. “I really work and focus on being the best fighter I possibly can be. I use to get wrapped up in what my opponent does, what his tendencies are, and watched a lot of film. I think that you end up psyching yourself out when you do that stuff. We have seen film on him, watched it a couple of times, he know his tendencies but the biggest thing is me performing the best of my abilities.”