A crimson mask covered the face of Leon Mynhardt as he and Don Madge exchanged punches in what would later be called one of the best fights to ever take place inside the Hex. It has been nearly three years since the two first met. The bout, which ended with a Mynhardt win by way of TKO in less than desirable circumstances, set the stage for what was the most anticipated rematch in Extreme Fighting Championship history.
The thing about rematches is that sometimes they leave more doubt in who the better fighter is than what the very first encounter did. When Mynhardt and Madge locked horns again, this time with the EFC lightweight title on the line, a narrow split decision was ruled in favor of Mynhardt. Once again, there was doubt as to who should have won the fight and the door was left open for the two to meet a third time.
At EFC 37 on Feb. 21, one of the two men can finally close the door. With the lightweight title once again on the line, Mynhardt and Madge will square off inside the Hex and put on what is expected to be a blockbuster fight.
The pair last met over a year ago. Since then, Madge has been working on the areas of his game that he felt would take him to the next level. He has been working inexhaustibly, doing whatever he needs to do in order to be prepared to defeat Mynhardt. Once these two meet inside the Hex for the third and what is likely to be final time, he hopes to leave no doubt as to the identity of the best lightweight fighter in Africa.
“Both of those losses were controversial, one being a technicality and the other a terrible decision,” Madge told Combat Press. “So, for me, it’s just another fight. I don’t live in the past. I live for right now, and right now I’m the best I’ve ever been.”
In his last bout, Madge fought to a split draw against current EFC featherweight champion Boyd Allen. The draw added yet another setback to Madge’s career. In the eyes of many, it probably shouldn’t have been the case. As a fighter, you’ve got to learn to accept that some things, like the scorecards handed down from the judges, are out of your control. While Madge could have taken his two wrong-ended decisions to heart, he instead chose to look at the positives from both fights.
“I had a great time, really enjoyed the fight and the atmosphere,” Madge explained. “I was a bit frustrated with the decision, as I feel that I definitely won the fight, but it was a great experience and has helped me grow. Like I said before, I don’t dwell on the past. I’m looking ahead and I have my focus on winning the belt and staying champion for a long time.”
Madge, who is a former EFC lightweight champion, would love nothing more than to see his belt return home on Feb. 21. There would be no better way for him to reclaim his gold than to beat the man that he feels shouldn’t have beaten him in the first place.
“It has been a long time coming,” Madge said. “I feel that I should have never lost the belt. The way I see it is, I’m still the champion. [Being the champion]’s indescribable — the best feeling in the world.”
EFC 37 kicks off the year for the African-based promotion. Madge is one half of the event’s marquee fight, and it’s important to see the year start off with a bang. With the EFC lightweight title on the line and a chance to right his previous wrongs, Madge knows just how important this fight could be for his career.
“It’s always important to make a statement,” Madge admitted. “I love exciting fights, and I love to put on a show for the fans. This will be no different.”