GREENVILE, Sc. — When Cody Durden scheduled his Saturday mixed martial arts bout with MMA veteran Ryan Hollis, the first thing he hoped for — even before a win — was to even have the fight in the first place.
Since coming up short last summer against the top-ranked MMA fighter in the Southeast, Durden, a former Eastside High wrestler, had scheduled and eagerly anticipated two other fights that fell through at the last minute.
“(Jared Scoggins) is the real deal, and I gave him a run for his money, but I came up short,” Durden said. “Since then I had two more fights scheduled and both opponents pulled out a week or less before the fight.”
In one situation, Durden’s opponent injured himself a week before the bout and had to call it off. Then, shortly after, Durden got a call to go to Chattanooga to fight with one week’s notice. After he arrived in Chattanooga, he received notification three hours before fight time that his opponent was in the hospital with kidney failure.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been good for me since that July 22 fight,” he said. “But that’s not because of anything on my part, but my opponents pulling out.”
Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Greenville, South Carolina, Durden is hoping there will be no last-second cancellations when he fights Hollis.
“He’s got like 25 fights under his belt, and I’ve got about five,” Durden said. “He turned pro in 2012, and he’s fought the who’s who in MMA fighting, but he hasn’t fought Cody Durden. I think it’s gonna be my night.”
Despite several fighting misfortunes, Durden is still the No. 2 ranked fighter in Georgia and No. 10 in the Southeast. He has had at least one fight that went as planned, but it wasn’t an MMA bout.
“It was boxing,” he said. “I got a call to fight the Louisiana Gold Gloves state champion in Louisiana on three days notice. He was the No. 6 amateur and I dominated him in all four rounds, so I guess I’m 1-0 in boxing.”
But Durden is ready to get back to the fight style he loves. And after the bout with Hollis, Durden has his sights set on shedding that No. 2 ranking for a title.
“I’m No. 2 just because I haven’t fought the No. 1 guy yet,” Durden said. “My goal is to get the 864 Championship belt, work my way up to another title shot, and get that belt and hopefully get that UFC call. So when I fight Ryan Hollis, I can’t just win. I have to dominate.”