I've been watching my next opponent, Alessio Sakara, fight for years -- long before I even became a contender in the WEC, in fact. Consequently, this fight on April 14 between him and me didn't come as any kind of surprise or shock.
After my recent experiences, I was keen to fight again, keen to fight a "name" opponent and, all things considered, Sakara kind of fit the bill.
When his name was given to me, it made sense and I was happy. I don't want to fight guys who aren't good fighters or don't come with any kind of reputation. We all know Sakara is a good fighter, and we've all seen him fight before. He's been a mainstay of the UFC for many years now and is probably as good now as he's ever been. That keeps me on my toes, both in training and during the fight itself.
Alessio was on a three-fight win-streak of his own recently, and that just goes to show the kind of level he is operating at right now. Believe me, it's no mean feat to...