The professional mixed martial arts career of Nick Gehrts began in late 2014 and he will be looking for his fifth career victory on Saturday night in Knoxville, Tennessee when he meets Steven Haag in the main event of Valor Fights 30.
After opening his career with back to back victories, Gehrts (4-2) has gone 2-2 in his last four fights and this will be his first fight since losing a decision to Andrew Tyson at Shamrock FC: Meltdown last year. When it comes to his losses in mixed martial arts, Gehrts told The MMA Report that his body was just not there mentally. According to the Knoxville Mixed Martial Arts Academy fighter, his mind and body were not mentally connected.
“I think that is the only two reasons why I lost those fights,” Gehrts said. “My mentality going into them — I was too relaxed and too calm. But I have found my right pace. My right moment and I have it all together. 2016 is my year. Every year from now on is my year.”
At Knoxville Mixed Martial Arts Academy, Gehrts gets be around current UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux. He has seen what his coach Eric Turner has done with Saint Preux, which is one of the reason he has so much trust in what Turner tells him to work on every day.
“Being around him [Saint Preux] is just really cool. Being in the gym with the number six light heavyweight in the world. That is obviously really cool,” he explained. When Eric opened up Knoxville Mixed Martial Arts Academy, it was in his garage. Ovince was one of his first students. Took him from being in a garage to the UFC canvas. That is a huge deal and that is one of the reasons that I have so much trust for Eric. I know he can do things and I trust that man with everything.”
On Saturday night at The International in Knoxville, he will meet Steven Haag in the main event of the fight card. While this will be the seventh professional fight for Gehrts, it will only be the second pro fight for Haag.
“He is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. He is a strong guy but in my opinion, he has no business being in the cage with me,” Gehrts said about his opponent on Saturday. “He is an amateur still and I don’t know why he turned pro. I don’t understand and I definitely don’t understand why he wants to fight me in his second pro fight. I think that is a really bad life choice. I am going to butcher him up and beat him down. I am going to work him. I am going to cut my angles and I am going to do everything I have to do.”
“I fought Adam Hyde. He is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. I don’t know if you watched that fight, but it did not work out to well for Adam in that one. I got extremely good defense. I am a purple belt in jiu-jitsu myself and on the ground, that is my world. Standing up, that is my world every where. It doesn’t really matter where we go. Like I said, I feel like he is still an amateur. As an amateur, he fought a bunch of guys that I would consider beginners.”
With that being said, could over confidence be an issue for Gehrts on Saturday night at Valor Fights 30? Gehrts does not believe he is over confident heading into this fight as he is aware that anything can happen in the fight and he wants to show everyone in the mixed martial arts community that he is one of the best prospects currently in the game.
“You have to be aware that anything can happen. If something doesn’t go your way, you have to make the best of it and work around it. Keep digging in and keep trying at it. He is a tough guy and I know that much. Competition that he has faced — they are nothing like me. I am the best 45’er in the state. I am the best 55’er in the state. My confidence is outstanding going into this fight. I have been doing sports psychology with my coach and doing a lot of mental exercises. I am absolutely confident for this fight.”
“I am always aware there is a danger but I always know that I can overcome that danger,” he continued. “Eric said to me once. ‘You fight a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and you do jiu-jitsu with him. Beat him at that game. You fight a striker. You strike with him and beat him in that game. You fight a wrestler. You wrestle with him and you beat him in that game.’ He says you always dive head first into your challenges. You win them and overcome them immediately. Definitely not worried about being too overconfident or too under confident for this one.”