Punahele Soriano’s professional MMA career got off to an unblemished start with an 8-0 mark, including his first three fights affiliated with the UFC.

Two fights later, and the Kahuku alum is suddenly in the middle of his first career losing streak after losses to Brendan Allen and Nick Maximov.

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Despite the losses, Soriano is continuing to find beauty in the struggle and believes he’s improved in both fights despite not having wins to show for it. A big reason for that is because both losses went the distance, whereas he two most recent UFC wins (and five career wins in total) have been via first-round knockout.

Soriano believes progress has been made in lasting longer in the octagon.

“If you look at my record from the time that I was winning, it was all in the first round, barely getting experience and now I’ve got three fights of three rounds and if you watch each one that I went three rounds, look how much better I’ve gotten each time,” he told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello.

“Some people, they lose their confidence when they start to lose but I’m coming up and if you saw how far I came from the first time I started wrestling, ask coach Reggie (Torres), ask anybody, I was pretty bad my first year, got a little better the next year, a little better, then senior year state champ and became an All-American (at Wartburg College in Iowa). Always figuring out a way to get better. … I’m good at getting better.”

Soriano’s next challenge is against Dalcha Lungiambula in a middleweight bout at UFC on ABC 3. Lungiambula (11-4), a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has a fight trajectory similar to Soriano’s: Five career knockouts with a two-fight losing streak in the UFC.

“The goal always remains the same, the goal is to be the best and that’s when you have that goal in mind, nothing else matters except being the best,” Soriano said.