Boxing: Second Colin for Robinson
FOR combatants in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a loss does not mean the end of the world - just ask Ballymena heavyweight Colin Robinson.
Hard hitting 'Big C' came up short in a sensational UFC fight in Belfast in June but has been invited back to compete in the world's leading mixed martial arts league next month.
The UFC organisation broke both box office and merchandise records when it touched down at Belfast's Odyssey Arena last June.
Robinson fought in one of the most exciting fights of the night against American Eddie Sanchez, going blow for blow, punch for punch and kick for kick for eight wildly exciting minutes before going down in a blaze of glory in the second round.
However, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on January 19, Big C has a second chance to enter the 32ft caged Octagon at the UFC 80: RAPID FIRE mega-show.
Robinson said: "In the UFC, they judge fighters more on how exciting they fight rather than just on won/loss records. When boxers lose a fight people suggest retirement, but in the UFC even the top champions have been beaten five or six times.
"In the UFC you can box, wrestle, use submissions like armlocks and chokes - there are so many ways to win and lose in an instant and that's why the sport's so exciting."
But Robinson had an anxious wait before his UFC return was confirmed.
He said: "People were telling me that because my fight with Sanchez was so exciting and so close the UFC would call again but I didn't want to get my hopes up.
"Sanchez didn't win that fight - I lost it by letting the occasion get to me. I should have been more controlled in there. I am my own harshest critic and I knew I could have done better.
"The UFC have offered me a fight against Antoni Hardonk, who is a kickboxing expert. It was like my Christmas had come early. I am not going to let this second chance go to waste. I cannot thank the UFC enough for giving me another go."
Perhaps it is just as well Big C's Christmas came early, as the mid-January date will mean the 39-year-old heavyweight maintains a strict diet over the holidays.
He lamented: "I'll be getting up early on Christmas Day not to open presents, but to do my daily run and when I get back home there won't be any Christmas dinner waiting but dry pasta and turkey. The wife and kids are going to get stuck into pudding and trifle, but I'll have to make do with a protein shake.
"It will all be worth it though."
UFC bosses say they will return to Belfast in late 2008.
lTICKETS for UFC 80: RAPID FIRE are available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk