It’s been almost 11 months to the day since Colton Vaughn last took a professional fight. That bout was brief, a knockout defeat to Luis Cortez just 23 seconds into the first round of the main event at Front Street Fights 6. Thanks to a twist of fate, Vaughn will have an opportunity to flip the script on Friday night when he returns to center stage at CenturyLink Arena to face Cortez a second time at Front Street Fights 9.
The door was opened to Vaughn on Monday afternoon when Daniel Spitz, originally slated to fight Cortez, was ruled ineligible by the Idaho Athletics Commission. With the event just days away, Vaughn was offered the chance to step in. Cortez has been training for a fight for weeks, but for Vaughn there wasn’t much more time to prepare for the fight than there was for him to decide to accept it.
“The turnaround was a couple hours of anxiety and then I was stoked,” said Vaughn, a Nampa native who enters this bout with a 6-6-0 pro record.
“Honestly, I haven’t been training anything other than my wrestling and jiu-jitsu. That being said, I’m never afraid to scrap. I thought it over a little bit and weighed the options to think about a game plan, and I think I can take him out. I’m in fighting shape and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and faster than I’ve ever been.”
Despite the quick turnaround for Vaughn to be ready on Friday night, he does have the benefit of facing an opponent he has studied extensively before. That knowledge didn’t translate to the cage then, when an early cross landed by Cortez ended the bout quickly. Yet aside from joking that he needs to “keep my hands in front of my chin” this time around, Vaughn said the most important lesson he learned at FSF 6 was to adjust his attitude.
“Last fight I was a little overly confident with who I had coaching me and who I had preparing me for the fight. I went in there trying to be a bull in a china shop and lacked any sort of respect for his power,” said Vaughn, who has seen nine of his 12 pro fights end in the first round. “I kind of walked right into him. Going forward in this fight, there’s a level of respect. Anyone can knock you out and you have to play your cards right.”
Fans will see Friday’s fight as a rematch for Cortez and Vaughn, and on paper it certainly is. Vaughn noted he was unhappy with the last meeting between the two and wants to correct the record, but he did not take the fight on short notice as an opportunity for revenge.
“I’ve never been a big fan of rematches. I never liked giving someone else another opportunity and I never liked asking for one,” said Vaughn. “Luis Cortez has been training his butt off and his opponent fell through. They were getting ready to scratch the fight and were waiting for my answer. It’s all good that I’m helping him out and letting him get a paycheck, but I hope he’s not expecting anything other than a show fee because I’m going to get the rest.”
Opportunity arose and Vaughn has seized it to put himself back in a professional fight. Vaughn downplayed concerns of the short week, saying he doesn’t need to cut weight and he doesn’t need to change his schedule. He just needs to get to CenturyLink Arena on Friday night.
When he does walk out of the tunnel, he thinks Front Street Fight fans will see a very different fighter.
“My mindset is different and I’m excited for this. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on a lot of things and I’m excited to put on a show. I think when people see me come out there, it’s going to be a whole new me.”