Following a stretch that saw him focus on his boxing career, lightweight Clay Collard returned to MMA this year as part of the 2021 PFL season with solid results.
In his two regular season bouts, Collard was able to pick up decision victories and earn himself a spot in the 2021 PFL playoffs.
“I feel like my performances were both pretty good,” Collard told MMAweekly.com. “The one (versus Joilton Lutterbach) with the split-decision win I would have liked to have gotten a unanimous or a finish in that fight, but we got the win which is good.
“Now it’s just we’ve got out points and are in the playoffs. We are coming down to go-time for the next fight, so that’s what I’m focused on.”
For Collard getting through the regular season wasn’t a matter of focusing on getting into the playoffs themselves, but just going out and winning fights and wherever he landed after is where he ended up.
“Go out and fight, and whatever happens, happens,” said Collard. “If you focus too much on getting points you can go out there focused on the knockout and bad things can happen. You’ve just got to show up, fight, and if you’re winning and performing well you’re probably going to get the spot.”
On August 13 in Hollywood, Florida, Collard (20-8) enters semi-final action versus Raush Manfio (13-3) in a 155-pound main card bout at PFL 2021 #7: Playoffs.
“Raush is a tough opponent, and I believe a Muay Thai guy, so if he wants to try to stand and strike and play the punching and kicking game I think I definitely have the advantage there,” Collard said. “There are very few people who have gone toe to toe with me standing on the feet like that.
“Other than that, if he does try to wrestle me I am prepared for that. I believe I’m prepared no matter where the fight goes. He’s a tough opponent. I believe it’s going to be a good fight. I’m excited. I’ve been training extremely hard and am very prepared and ready to do my thing, fight my fight, pick up the win and keep the train rolling.”
While Collard is a one fight at a time type fighter, winning the PFL championship and the million dollar prize is always present in his mind, and he uses it as a motivator throughout his journey.
“Knowing the end results definitely helps,” said Collard. “It helps you stay focused during training camp. It helps you push a little extra hard in those workouts so you’re ready to rock.
“If I don’t win this fight the other fight never happens, so we take it one step at a time. We see the steak in front of us and eat it a piece at a time until it’s gone.”