Lysanna Lentz was born on December 9, 2016 and, according to her father, it was also the day he started to reorganize his priorities and become a better man.
“A lot of it was my own fault,” he says, laughing. “Because I was trying so hard to excel at this game, the rest of my life fell apart, but when we had our first kid, all of that went away. She made everything click and come back together.”
Lysanna would soon become a big sister, but it was a moment before her little sister came into the world that pushed their papa even further down the road that has carried him into his third meeting with Oliveira this weekend.
Somewhere during their surprise second pregnancy, Lentz’ wife experienced some distress and the UFC lightweight feared that she had suffered another miscarriage. In that moment, the man who had always been opposed to organized religion prayed for a miracle, asking God to care for his family and help him restructure his life.
Lavinia Lentz was born on May 21, 2018, and on that day, Lentz’ priorities shifted completely. That was the day the new life he mentioned in that April 15 Instagram post about this weekend’s bout with Oliveira really began.
“I am a new man, I have a new faith, new motivation and a new outlook on life,” he says, echoing the Instagram caption. “It wasn’t until fighting became third or fourth in my life that I became a good fighter. It was No. 1 for so long and I cared so much about it that all the rest of my life kind of fell apart and that drags on you. It wasn’t until I had my kids and solidified my marriage that I got everything together and I can only thank God for that because it’s a miracle that it happened.”
In the midst of his major life transformation, Lentz made a massive professional switch as well, abruptly severing ties with American Top Team following his loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 208.
With Lysanna in tow, he drove to Hard Knocks 365, where Henri Hooft’s wife instantly tagged in and started caring for the little one, while Lentz walked right into a workout. He’s been training there ever since and believes the renowned striking coach and the rest of the crew at the South Florida facility have helped to transform him into a complete fighter and someone capable of making a run towards the top of the lightweight division.
“I’ve always been an unorthodox striker; I give people a lot of problems when they fight me because they get hit with stuff they don’t understand,” says Lentz. “Henri has tuned me up and fixed me and now my striking is on whole different level and now that I have that and I can fight like a technical kickboxer, all my other skills have gone through the roof as well. It’s taken the pressure out of fighting.
“I’m having a great time and that’s the piece that was missing,” he adds. “I always worked the hardest, trained the hardest, wanted it the most, but I don’t think I ever had a good time and I finally am now.”