Cody Donovan - 12-12 fighter of the month

(Note: It was a great December for MMA fighter Cody “Donnybrook” Donovan – he won his first UFC fight in Australia, received a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu, and was awarded fighter of the month – the article below is from January 2013 Celtic Connection, Pat McCullough)

Mixed Martial Artist Cody “Donnybrook” Donovan represented Denver well December 14th (it was Dec 13 in Denver) at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Queensland, Australia. In his Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) debut, aired on FUEL TV, Cody caught Nick Penner with an overhand left to the head that dropped his opponent to the canvas. A few seconds and a barrage of punches later, Cody won by a TKO 4:35 minutes into Round 1. With the victory, the 205lb. Light Heavyweight, upped his record to 8-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC.
Although the fight only lasted one round, it took a busy few minutes and a couple of respectable “Welcome to the UFC” punches from Penner to sharpen Cody’s focus. “That uppercut was brutal,” laughed Cody as he recalled the action, “I mean he knocked me out cold, as I’m falling to the ground I hit my head on the floor and it woke me back up!” After a quick canvas level assessment and pep talk to himself, he pulled it together and went on to get the TKO win.

Cody was given only 9 days advance notice before the fight, but he was crazy happy to get it. The opportunity to fight at the UFC level was something that he hoped, trained, and fought for, but, as time went on, the 31 year old wondered if it just wasn’t in the cards. “I don’t know man, I was starting to lose hope – I’ve been fighting for so long – I know that I fight for the right reasons, I know that my skills are at a high level because of the guys I train with, but lot of it is luck and I thought, well maybe I’m just not going to get my opportunity.”
Cody wondered if he should transition into being a coach and help others with their training goals. He had an offer to a fight with a big name opponent in Denver, he would take that, and maybe a couple more fights and then decide. Then it all changed, he got “The Call”.
“I’m standing at the grocery store, when out of the blue my manager calls me and asked ‘Can you fight in 9 days?’ and I’m like sure, and he says, “Can you fight in Australia in 9 days?” And I’m like, with who? And he said ‘Are you sitting down?’ As Cody began shouting with anticipation his manager told him that he had been offered a contract for 4 UFC fights, with the first one in Australia in 9 days.
Two days later Cody was on a plane to San Francisco, than to New Zealand, and then to Australia were he trained for the week up to the fight.

The win in Australia and UFC contract still hasn’t totally sunk in yet for Cody.
He reflected on how he had to overcome a severe shoulder injury last year and that he “had a million reasons” why he should have quit, but he was compelled to continue.
He believed that some people had counted him out to make it to the next level. “There wasn’t a bunch of people holding out that this 31 year old who has been fighting for 8 years was going to get the call – so, I think the fact that I did, and I showed up.” He thought for a moment and added, “I think the fight was kind of a metaphor for my fight career – I went out and took a beating and pulled it together at the last minute and got the job done.”

Weeks before Australia, Cody was helping a buddy train for a fight, so in the process his level of fitness was descent to take on the challenge Down Under. He learned over the years that a fighter should maintain a certain level of fitness even if there is no fight on the calendar. “You can’t stay in great shape or your body will just fall apart, but you can maintain reasonable shape.”
Last summer Cody tried out for the Ultimate Fighter TV show.
“I did well with the interviews and everything, but they chose a different weight
class for the TV show, 185 middleweights. All the guys in my weight class, the light heavy weights, were sent home. One of the guys with the show grabbed me when I was walking out and said ‘Hey man you did a really good job today, stay in good shape. Don’t be surprised if they call you…if someone got hurt they could call you so stay ready.’”

Offering sincere appreciation to his trainers, fellow fighters, friends and family for their support, Cody added another variable to his recent success that he did not have in the past. “I’m just so happy – I’m just giving it all to God – I know that I tried to make this happen on my own for years and it didn’t happen – but when I made my decision to put my trust in other areas everything came together…I don’t force my religious views on people, but I think God had a lot to do with it, I just gave trust in that and kept training – I’m a firm believer that God’s plan was better than mine – it sure worked out good.”

Cody is planning on more good things to happen in 2013.
He is waiting for the next phone call from the UFC with date and place of his next fight. For the benefit of his Colorado fans he hopes that one of his fights is in Denver. As far as how soon the fight is scheduled, he laughed, “hopefully I get more than a 9 day notice, but if they called and asked me to fight next week, I’d find a way to do it.”

However, there is one date on his calendar that is already blocked off.
“I’m engaged and getting married this spring- my fingers are crossed that they don’t call and tell me that I’m fighting on June 1st!

Notes: Cody “Donnybrook” Donovan holds a Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu
He fights out of Grudge Training Center 303-432-8858‎
He also trains and teaches BJJ, MMA and Kickboxing at Easton Brazillian Jiu Jitsu in Denver, and High Altitude Martial Arts in Aurora.
Get more insights on Cody and Google “Celtic Connection Celtic Warrior” article
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