Sean (The Punisher) Pierson has gone back to his roots.
Early in his mixed martial arts career, the Toronto welterweight opted not to cater his training to the specific challenge that lay ahead, but rather to focus on sharpening his own skill set. That mentality led to Pierson assembling a 10-4 record.
Then the UFC came knocking.
Since he was now jumping into a much deeper talent pool, Pierson shifted the focal point away from himself, instead attempting to plan for each opponent. Though he is 3-2 since joining the world's largest MMA organization, Pierson admitted this change in approach did more harm than good.
“Originally in my career, I didn't train for anybody. I was like, 'This is what I do, this is what I'm going to do,' ” Pierson said in a phone interview. “When I got to the UFC, I felt like I had to change. Since the level of competition is such a higher step, I felt I had to study everybody hard. I think that was stressing me out. When my opponents changed, it affected me more. I was focusing less on myself and more on what my opponent could do.