Michael Imperato Details Ongoing ‘Battle To Get Back In The UFC’ A Decade After His ‘Contract Got Rescinded’

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Michael Imperato wants another shot with the UFC.

Imperato, 34, made his case known to CEO Dana White and company over the weekend on a new edition of ‘Dana White’s Looking For A Fight’.  The Canadian passed his latest test with flying colors, submitting ex-Bellator star Ricky Bandejas in less than a minute at Unified MMA 55.

Victorious in Toronto, Imperato asked the UFC boss for a second chance. As for his first chance, Imperato was let go before his promotional debut in 2014 for saying homophobic and racist slurs (which he later apologized for) on a documentary called ‘Fight Xchange’ (h/t: MMA News). Imperato was actually supposed to fight a 25-year-old Aljamain Sterling, who went on to become a UFC champ.

“It’s actually crazy how how the world works,” Imperato told MMA Islander.  I’m not sure how how familiar with my career, but about 10 years ago, got a UFC contract, got rescinded. It’s been a battle ever since trying to get back.”

With a 12-6 record, Imperato’s career hasn’t been the most perfect since his first call-up to the Octagon. However, the UFC hopeful isn’t one to quit on his dreams, fighting very consistently in recent years. Imperato hopes to do the same with a certain contract in hand. 

“I’m 34, man. I’m getting up there,” Imperato added. “If I got a fight there once, I will make the best of it. I would want it to be against the highest-level opponent they could possibly give me. I just wanna show the world where I stand. Because when you when you tell someone you’re fighter and they ask where and you say anything but the UFC, in their eyes, not that they’re a fight fan or they’re knowledgeable, but you’re a nobody. Then, all of a sudden, you go to the UFC and you’re somebody.”

“I made it to the highest level, and I couldn’t perform. That eats at me every day. One thing was to show my kids never to quit. No matter what, just keep digging, keep grinding, and your opportunities will come. So, I never really believed in 2nd chances. I know a lot of people do. I started doubting myself, but I kept grinding and hopefully I get it so I can teach them that second chances to exist. I can teach other people that exist, so don’t quit on your dreams.”

Imperato has no problem with fighting the best right off the bat. In fact, that’s exactly what he wants.

“But if I do get there, and if I can stay there for a bit, which I believe I can, I wanna fight top 5 guys right way,” Imperato continued. “I wanna be where where I should have been because 10 years ago. I was supposed to fight Aljamain Sterling, he ended up being their champ. I deserve a similar situation. I know I have that skillset, and I have the exact same training experience that he does. So, if we could do it again or we can do that one or give me any top 5 guys on my way up, but give me a few. I wanna bang them all real quick.”

“I don’t want 6 months [to] 1 year gaps. I wanna go week after week, month after month, whatever it is. Let’s just keep doing it until I can’t go no more.”

Canada’s Imperato says ‘all the stars aligned’ for him in his short-notice fight against Bandejas.

“Ricky’s a really tough opponent. I didn’t train for this guy. I was training for a 5′ 4 little wannabe wrestler and now I got a 5’10 world class athlete. Whatever, let’s do it. Put pressure on me, and that’s where I’m gonna shine. So, that happened, and then I found out Dana White was gonna be there— ‘Dana White’s Looking For A Fight’. Just all the stars aligned, and, man, I was nervous as hell.

“I didn’t sleep for a few days,” Imperato admitted. “I was cutting that weight. Like, I was going crazy. I just couldn’t wait to get in there, but I always knew that if we weren’t nervous, we weren’t ready. You know? All the moments just led up to an exactly perfect moment for myself. So, you couldn’t you couldn’t have scripted this. You couldn’t have planned it. You couldn’t have wrote it in the book if you tried. But yeah, just all the stars aligned and the performance just tops it all off with the cherry on the cake.”

Michael Imperato currently awaits the UFC’s answer regarding a potential contract.

“That’s one thing I don’t know,” Imperato said. “I’m hoping [the signing] happens sooner than later, but I have a feeling it’s gonna be a few months.”

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Christopher De Santiago is a 21 year-old journalist out of Texas with years of experience covering MMA. Follow him on X: @chris_dsantiago

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