In a metropolis of greater than 20 million folks, Mark Overgaard Madsen skilled loneliness and devastation on a scale which mere mortals can’t fathom.
In 2008, sitting within the bowels of the China Agricultural College Gymnasium in Beijing, the Dane tried to absorb the ambiance and course of what had occurred to him.
Regardless of being one the perfect wrestlers in Europe, the Greco-Roman wrestler was dumped out of the 74kg class on the very first preliminary spherical by Russian behemoth Varteres Samurgashev.
“It’s simple profitable, to place it straight,” he advised talkSPORT.com. “Coming into the Olympics in ’08, I had completed within the prime three on the World Championships, three years in a row.
“My hopes and expectations of profitable an Olympic medal – a Gold medal specifically, – had been actually excessive.
“I had the complete nation of Denmark rooting for me, I feel even Sports activities Illustrated had been score the percentages and so they rated the Handball group to change into Olympic champions as handball is large in Denmark. Then that they had Mark O. Madsen.”
Talking to Madsen, even through a easy phone name, his ardour for wrestling is effusive and unrestrained.
Impressed by his grandfather who labored on the Royal Enviornment in Copenhagen, Madsen fell in love with the game and has wrestled in some capability for the reason that age of six.
He’s essentially the most achieved wrestler in Danish historical past and has skilled with a few of the greatest athletes on the earth from the day he left college – together with with the USA Olympic group at their base in Colorado Springs.
But, within the house of simply six minutes, his profession was in tatters and he quickly discovered himself within the showers along with his desires shattered and hopes destroyed on that fateful day in China.
He added: “I might say that was a defining second in my life in addition to my athletic profession, as a result of getting ready for an Olympic Gold medal after which having to go and bathe after like 5 – 6 minutes of wrestling was not solely a loss; it was a catastrophe.
“And it actually, actually hit me exhausting. I didn’t simply disappoint myself, I felt like I used to be actually letting my household my nation and my nation down. I had to return and actually dig deep and attempt to rediscover and even reinvent myself.
“It was a defining second as a result of I might select to go and pack after my bathe after which name it a day. Or, I might select to work on myself and select to work to change into a greater model of myself and go for that childhood dream of profitable an Olympic medal.”
John Kavanagh, who famously coached Conor McGregor to each the UFC featherweight and light-weight titles, believes we both ‘win or be taught’ and that there isn’t a true loss.
Defeat within the Bronze medal match on the London Video games in 2012 couldn’t perturb Madsen and he lastly achieved his targets of turning into an Olympian simply as he had dreamed about alongside his grandfather once they would envisage grappling in entrance of tens of millions on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
But there was one thing deeper burning inside Madsen, a fierce aggressive edge nonetheless driving him on.
Having tried his hand at blended martial arts in between the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, the Dane felt a necessity to beat one more self-discipline on his path to sporting excellence. And, simply as he had dreamt of success as an Olympian, Madsen wished to be recognised because the Final Fighter.
He stated: “Getting back from that loss, which I known as a catastrophe, was exhausting. But profitable the Olympic medal on the 2016 Video games in Rio was a significant feeling of accomplishment and I simply felt satisfaction.
“I used to be the primary Dane to win a medal in eight years, so it was a significant accomplishment for me as an athlete, however as nicely for my household and my coaches and wrestling generally in Denmark.
“The UFC is the equal of what the Olympics is for wrestling.
“You possibly can dream of reaching the Olympics, however you need to qualify for that. It’s actually exhausting to plan becoming a member of the UFC, however the UFC has been a dream.
“So profitable that medal on the Olympics sort of fulfilled my dream in wrestling, it made me assume I’ve accomplished the mission there. Now it’s time to maneuver on.”
After asserting his retirement from wrestling, Madsen set about catching the attention of Dana White and fulfilling his new dream of turning into a UFC champion.
Impressed by legendary Greco-Roman wrestlers like Randy Couture and Dan Henderson, ‘The Olympian’ needed to sacrifice it over again to be able to pursue his dream.
“I left a really snug life in wrestling with a variety of good qualities,” he added.
“You had coaches, I had a membership, I had a federation backing me up and I needed to go away all that to focus 100 per cent on MMA, and to be sincere, it’s been fairly a experience!
“Danish MMA is creating however, on the time I made a decision to hitch MMA in Denmark it was younger, and it nonetheless is younger.
MARK O. MADSEN’S MMA RECORD
There has by no means been a Greco-Roman wrestler as achieved because the Dane
Whole fights: 10
By knockout: 3
By submission: 3
By determination: 4
“However principally, we have now needed to develop or create each single alternative that’s arising in entrance of us. And you may name it a sacrifice as a result of I’ve been travelling 4 to 5 days every week. I’ve been away from my very own my household, my children to hunt the appropriate coaching, the appropriate sparring companions in Copenhagen, totally different locations in Denmark and in addition travelling overseas and stuff.
“I even slept in a tenting bag and in Copenhagen as a result of I’ve to work and I needed to prepare late evenings and early mornings. So yeah, it’s been a life.”
Regardless of doubters who questioned his age and his capacity to adapt, the 36-year-old took simply two years to succeed in the UFC after success with Cage Warriors.
His UFC debut got here in his dwelling city of Copenhagen within the Royal Enviornment, the place he was given headline standing and duly made a considerable impression in opposition to Danilo Belluardo.
He admitted: “I’m having a tough time discovering something larger than the second I had these massive, black curtains pulled apart and I bought to see the complete Royal Enviornment in Copenhagen.
“It was stuffed with Danish followers simply yelling and screaming, I walked into the octagon and I completed my opponent inside a minute and 30 seconds or no matter it was, however that was huge.
“That was an enormous second for me as an athlete, however Danish MMA and the Danish followers as nicely. That second was for all of the those that stated it couldn’t be finished. It was a wake-up name for lots of people.
“I actually consider that no matter we will dream, we will obtain. There are lots of people who put limitations not solely on themselves, however on different folks.”
But, as soon as once more, Madsen was confronted with adversity as he suffered a damaged jaw in simply his second UFC bout. The light-weight contender discovered himself in deep trouble in opposition to Austin Hubbard at UFC 248.
However, due to his years of expertise and the teachings discovered from Beijing and London, he knew he had the fortitude and resilience to dig deep and discover a solution to win.
He stated: “Whenever you discuss overcoming adversity, it’s in all probability one of many extra brave issues that I’ve needed to do.
“However it exhibits my dedication in direction of my visions and my targets; I’m not going to let something cease he issues I placed on the board, not even a damaged jaw.
“I imply, the ache is actual. Whenever you break your jaw in two locations and you may really feel the bone piece transferring round and also you assume your tooth are knocked out, however it’s simply the bone piece that’s unfastened? It’s good to attempt to chew in your mouth guard and maintain pushing and pushing and actually concentrate on the duty forward.”
There has by no means been a extra skilled Greco-Roman wrestler in UFC historical past than the Dane, who admits he has 5 years left on the pinnacle of the game and needs to win the 155lbs belt inside 4.
The retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov has thrown the division extensive open, with ‘The Eagle’ maybe essentially the most dominant power ever seen within the light-weight division. A fast search on the web will reveal the nickname ‘Khabib’s Kryptonite’ related to Madsen, given his Olympic pedigree.
However, with the Russian retired, Madsen has an ominous warning forward of his imminent return to the octagon in 2021.
“I’m going to be an actual drawback for any opponent standing throughout with me within the cage,” he declared.
“My preventing model remains to be evolving; I’m travelling, I’m working with totally different, attention-grabbing and extremely achieved guys so my model remains to be creating.
“2020 didn’t work out as I deliberate, which fits for the remainder of the world,” he concluded. “I imply, it’s been a loopy 12 months, however I can inform everybody that 2021 I’m calling for everybody.
“I’m able to go and I’ve been accumulating a variety of coaching and a variety of data.”
Mark O. Madsen was talking on behalf of betting skilled. Through the use of bettingexpert.com earlier than you guess, you’ll be able to really feel assured that the bets you place are supported by the perfect tipster data obtainable right now.