Patrick Cote: Happy to be swimming in UFC waters, ready for Cung Le

It’s been a long journey for Canadian middleweight Patrick Cote – In 2008 at UFC 90 he fought middleweight king and pound-for-pound star Anderson Silva, the biggest moment of his decade-long career, well, so far at least.

While Silva did wind up getting his hand raised, it didn’t come easy. He battered Cote with a series of knees and even a roundhouse kick that didn’t even budge “The Predator” who was competitive with the 185-pound king until a knee injury forced him to cease the action.

Back-to-back defeats to Alan Belcher and Tom Lawlor following his unsuccessful bid to take the middleweight crown forced his exit from the organization but he always figured he’d wind up in the big-show again.

“In my head I had a pretty bad fight against Tom Lawlor. I don’t want to take anything from him, he did his job and he won. For my part, I did a really bad fight and I take the blame,”

He continued “After that, in my head I thought I’m still a UFC fighter and I’m still at this level. I think I did prove it again, I won my last four fights. I finished my two last guys in the first round. I’m undefeated outside of the UFC, I’m 13-0, so that proves that I still have my place in the big show.”

The injury bud has plagued the global MMA juggernaut in recent times icing some of the bigger cards on the fight calendar, but an injury to The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil coach Vitor Belfort was bad news for fans, but good news for Cote.

Rich Franklin was originally paired to fight Cung Le but when Wanderlei Silva wound up without a dance partner the math-teacher-turned-mixed-martial-artist agreed to rematch his axe-wielding rival and before he knew it, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva was calling Cote.

“Actually, I was very happy. I knew that I was ready to get back in the show. I didn’t expect to be back in a big fight right away. Especially on, probably the biggest card of the year and on the main card. I’m right in the middle of the pay-per-view and it’s amazing to get in at the front door like that. I really appreciate it and that’s why I train hard, so I’ll be ready for this fight,” he told MMASucka.com

Le, a former Strikeforce middleweight champion, isn’t an easy opponent to face on your promotional return though. The unorthodox, wild striking is something that Cote feels that he has scouted before they meet on July 7.

“I’m not expecting something new and that I don’t know. I know his style, he’s super flashy, super tricky with his legs. Spinning back fists, spinning back kicks, he’s very spectacular. He has some decent hands and good wrestling too, but right now I’m doing what I should have done maybe 2-3 years ago. I’ve trained a lot on my wrestling and jiu-jitsu for the last year and a half with the National team here (Montreal),” he says.

“My new coach went to the last Olympic games in China. I’m training four times a week, so it’s giving me more confidence in my hands too. I was already very confident about my striking game, but I think with better wrestling, I am not scared to go in the cage. I know he could try and get me to the ground, but I could defend it. I’ll be able to get back on my feet and if I want to put him on his back, now I know I have the tools to do it. For me, my ground game is better than his game. For standup I think the game plan is going to be very important. We know exactly what we have to do and we’re going to do it on July 7th.”

The Montreal native already has his eyes set on fighting on his home turf later this year, having not fought on a Canadian UFC card since 2008, it could illicit an ear-ringing reaction from the Canadian crowd.

“The UFC in Montreal is going to be four months after my fight against Cung Le. For sure it is a little bit on my head and I’m thinking about it. I’ve signed a four fight deal with the UFC, I’m 32 years old, I’m still young in this sport so I’m going to take one fight at a time. I don’t want to think too far ahead, but It’s a no brainer that I really want to be on that card. With a win against Cung Le, I’ll be on the main card and It will be very crazy to fight here in Montreal again.” He said.

While he now has a promising career cage side at UFC events calling the action in French as well as other side projects, the 33-year-old still has a thing or two to prove inside the eight-sided cage and he will get his opportunity to defeat a former big-show champion next Saturday night.

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