Bobby Maximus explains why he’s shooting The Ultimate Fighter at 43: ‘You have to do it now’

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Bobby Maximus is a name that jumps out at you, but it’s his unlikely story that has made him one of the most talked about contestants on The Ultimate Fighter 30.

A quick look at the TUF 30 will tell you it’s a cast with little experience as all but one of the contestants have less than 10 pro fights under their belt, including Maximus (5-4). However, the profile of the Canadian is definitely not like the others:

  • Maximus last competed in February 2009, over 13 years ago
  • Maximus was a cast member of the second season of The ultimate fighter – then better known as Rob “Maximus” MacDonald – where he was trained by welterweight champion Matt Hughes and shared a home with UFC notables Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Joe Stevenson, Josh Burkman, Melvin Guillard, Marcus Davis, and Seth Petruzelli
  • Maximus has already fought three times in the UFC, winning once thanks to a first-round armbar submission from Kris Rotharmel
  • Max is 43 years old

It is this last fact that has naturally raised the eyebrows of those who follow the latest TUFF season and ahead of his fight on this week’s episode, Maximus told MMA Fighting why he made the decision to take on the long-running reality show and become its oldest competitor.

“I retired from fighting because I didn’t think – I was the main guard – and I didn’t think I could be a good enough father and fight,” Maximus said, when told. asked if he regretted making the decision to leave initially. of the fight. “I thought he deserved better as a son. Over the years, every time I watched a UFC event, there was a little voice that said, ‘Man, you retired too soon. You could always You could have been something. It might have helped you to have a son because you were more mature and you could have balanced that.

“That voice got louder and louder and louder to the point that I had to do something and at 43 I’m approaching the point of no return. I won’t be able to do this at 50. C was like, ‘You have to do it now.’ And now that I’ve done it, win or lose or draw, it doesn’t matter The one thing the show has taught me is that I would have been, am and will be 100% capable of fight in the UFC. So it put all of these wonders, all of these doubts, all of these what ifs, it put them to bed because I got the answer I was looking for.

Maximus had to go through the same arduous vetting process as the other cast members when it came time to audition for the series, though he faced more scrutiny due to his advanced age and his long layoff from fighting. Although he didn’t stress his skills or fitness level – Maximus is currently running a successful personal training company – there were several factors beyond his control. All the miles he ran and all the reps he did meant nothing when it came to the MRI results and CT scans.

He succeeded, becoming one of eight heavyweights scheduled to compete in the latest edition of TUFF. Max lost to TUF 2 runner-up Brad Imes in his only tournament fight that season and as difficult as that experience was, he says coming back to the show now was even more daunting.

“It’s tough and I’ll tell you that even though you see 40-year-old players competing at the highest level in the world, it’s definitely not the norm,” Maximus said. “Most people collapse when they reach the age of 40. It’s just a reality. Some of us have been able to hang on a little longer than others and whether it’s genetics, a dedication to fitness, a dedication to food, a dedication to your craft, some of us were able to hang on longer. But one thing you can’t escape is that the body toll is much heavier at 43.

“If I had to compare it to when I was on The ultimate fighter season two is much more difficult. Training is tough The ultimate fighter. It is much more difficult to live that at 43 years old than at 26 years old. It’s just a different world. So you need to be more aware of nutrition, more aware of sleep, more aware of taking care of yourself. It can be done. It just takes a lot of effort.

Bobby Maxime
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Maximus currently lives and fights in Utah, but began training nearly 20 years ago as a student of the great Shawn Tompkins. The Sudbury, Ont., native has been regularly tested in the gym by Canadian stars like Mark Hominick, Sam Stout and Chris Horodecki.

At the time, Maximus was like every other hungry young fighter who wanted to be part of the UFC’s explosion in popularity during the 2000s. Looking back, he didn’t feel mentally prepared to excel in the octagon.

“It was different for me, personally,” Maximus said. “I was in the shoes of the younger competitors in season two. In season two, I desperately wanted to be in the UFC. I desperately wanted fighting to be my career. I felt like it was now or never, it was my golden ticket, it was my shot, it was something I had to do.

“Now I’m 43. I’m one of the most recognized fitness celebrities in the world. I write for men’s health. I have a family. I make a lot of money. I didn’t need to do this show, I wanted to do this show. So I came into it with a very different mindset. The buzz, the pressure, all that stuff, it was a completely different experience this time around for that reason.

Maximus remembers checking out forums early on — it was still in the primitive age of social media — and being hurt by criticism of his performances. It’s an aspect of the game he learned to ignore a long time ago.

“I cared way too much about what other people said and thought,” Maximus continued. “Losing a fight was devastating because you weren’t tough, your manhood was in question, you weren’t a good athlete. The sport has evolved to the point – and I guess I’ve evolved to the point mentally where I don’t care anymore. Some of the best fighters in the world lose.

“Look what just happened with Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler. Tony was at the end of one of the ugliest knockouts of all time and no one thinks of him less as a fighter. It’s a game different, it’s a different judging system and so now I don’t really have a hard time with that.

Featured this week TUF 30 bout, Maximus takes on Team Amanda Nunes’ No. 1 heavyweight pick, Eduardo Perez, a 16-year-old Maximus junior fighter who sports a 4-1 pro record. Maximus was the last pick on the show when the teams were drafted and he ended up on Team Julianna Peña.

He praises Peña as a coach and as a person, and says they were on the same page when it came to him chasing Nunes’ top prospect.

“I asked for Eduardo from the first minute,” Maximus said. “Part of the reason is that I was the last pick, I might as well go for number 1. If I have to lose, I might as well lose to whoever they thought was the best. I want to go down swinging. I want to get their best dog out The reality with the TUFF show is someone has to get out of there. You can’t hide from anyone. You can’t hide from seed #1 or seed #2 or seed #3. Everyone has to go through the same gauntlet. So my thought was to do this now. I’m going to take out No. 1, then we’re off.

We’ll find out tonight if Maximus has taken a unique journey in the series, but considering everything he’s been through just to get into the house, it’s fair to wonder if he intends to fight in out of the UFC if he retires. of the tournament and a contract is not offered on the road.

Maximus wouldn’t make a definitive statement about his post-show plans, only assuring that his return to the world of MMA has already been fulfilling.

“It’s really for two reasons that I did this,” Maximus said. “The number one reason I did this is it doesn’t matter UFC, it doesn’t matter ONE Championship, it doesn’t matter Bellator or any of those things. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could still do this. Now when I say do this, that’s where the UFC becomes important because the UFC is the highest level professional organization on the planet. So let’s see if I could do it at the highest level in the world. It’s number one.

“Number two: We live in a pretty dark world right now. There’s a lot of sadness, a lot of depression, a lot of misery. And there’s a lot of people who hate their jobs. They’re stuck in traffic jams. bump to bumper, they’re miserable, they’re not satisfied. They work for a company that, frankly, doesn’t give a damn about them. And they probably have a dream or had a dream. Maybe it’s was to be a journalist. Maybe it was to paint with watercolors. Maybe it was to write poetry, I don’t know, whatever you wanted to do. take it out on them. I found myself being that person. Watching TV, every time I watched a UFC event, “Maybe I can still do this. And then the voices start, ‘Don’t do it. You have a great career. You have a great reputation in the media. If you lose, people will sue you online. have already made a career. Why are you going to tarnish it?

“There’s always a reason not to do something, but how am I going to inspire others and teach others to pursue their dreams if I’m not ready to do it myself. So for me, none of that was really about getting the UFC contract, fighting in the UFC. It was that I was going to keep going and do my best and let’s see what happens.

The Ultimate Fighter 30 streams live Monday nights at midnight ET on ESPN+ in the US and on UFC Fight Pass in Canada. Episodes also air on Canadian television at 9:30 p.m. ET Tuesdays on TSN2.

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