KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the UFC is poised to make its return to Kansas City this weekend for the first time in over five years, local fighter Zak Cummings hasn’t been in the Octagon for the last three.

“It’s been rough, it’s been dark, regular life at home was rough, couldn’t pick up my kids, but over time, the body started healing and I could start playing with my daughter a little bit,” Cummings said. “As month by month progress, I was able to more.”

So, what was the determining factor in returning to the octagon for what could be his last fight? Simple, family, specifically his 5-year-old daughter.

“She’s in the gym all the time, she sees all these fighters. I was in the gym and my cornerman Mike England, was getting ready to fight, she loves him to death,” Cummings said. “So, I told her that he had a fight coming up and he’s all excited and that’s the great, but she asked ‘Daddy when are you going to fight? I want to see that one!’ And I was, like, oh man, that’s all I need.”

So, the 38-year-old Cummings, who’s on a three-fight contract, will face another long-time veteran in Ed Herman.

“I was a fan of Ed before I even started fighting, before I got in the UFC,” Cummings said. “We’ve been on the same cards together, been in the locker room. I like Ed, I respect him.”

And Cummings, who trains out of a gym in the area, is hoping his many fans will cheer him on to victory.

“The timing for me to come back and then to come to my backyard in Kansas City, like it just makes since man,” he said. “I’m just overly excited, this is possibly a retirement fight so for my local support this might be the last time they’re able to see me and compete live. And that’s special.”