Losing might be unfamiliar to Lance Palmer, but his mentality remains the same.
Palmer (22-4), a two-time PFL champion, suffered his first promotional loss when he was upset by Bubba Jenkins at 2021 PFL 1 in April, snapping his 11-fight winning streak. His Thursday matchup with Jesse Stirn (11-4) at PFL 4 is a must-win for a chance at the playoffs, and Palmer’s confidence hasn’t wavered.
“My mentality overall as a fighter and as where I feel I’m at in the food chain in the 145-pound division, it doesn’t change at all,” Palmer told reporters at the PFL 4 media day. “One hiccup and one bad fight in the last four years doesn’t really change how I feel about myself or what I feel my potential is. I feel like I’m still getting better and still improving, and I feel like I can still get a lot better than I am and keep improving from where I’m at.
“So as far as this fight goes, as far as pressure, I don’t feel any pressure to do anything special or to have to get the finish in the first round just for the playoffs. To win this fight and obviously I feel I can finish this guy, so if I can get a finish at some point in this fight, and I still don’t make the playoffs, then I feel my stock is still high because I go out with a win. And even if I’m not in the playoffs, I’m still in the winner’s circle, so whatever’s next after this, it’ll be whatever it is.”
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Palmer admits that he didn’t perform to his usual ability against Jenkins. He thinks he was too lackadaisical mentally and is confident that if he got the chance to run things back with his former wrestling rival, things would pan out differently.
“I didn’t really do a lot of interviews, and nobody really asked me about it up until this week, but going into that fight, a lot of people asked me, ‘Man, you didn’t look like yourself. You didn’t really look like you were even in there,’” Palmer said. “People had their criticisms and things like that, but that’s just how the sport is and to get that fight back would be great, but it’s not something that I’m drooling over like, ‘Hey, I need to get that back.’ I know what happened in there, I know that I wasn’t in there. Physically I was in the cage, but mentally I wasn’t even there.
“There were times against the cage when he was holding me against the fence, and I’m just like, ‘Man, once this is over, I’m gonna pack my stuff and head back to Ohio, hang out, relax.’ It was a really strange situation, so to not be there mentally and still have a decent decision loss instead of getting injured, I feel like I created more injuries in that fight for him than he created for me because I pretty much left the fight unscathed, but obviously I took the loss. Being there mentally if we do fight in the future would be a huge difference for me.”
PFL 4 takes place Thursday at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. The main card airs on ESPN2 following prelims on ESPN+.
Bubba Jenkins def. Lance Palmer at 2021 PFL 1: Best photos
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