Costa Philippou and Riki Fukuda at UFC 148Constantinos Philippou is quickly emerging as the dark horse in the UFC’s middleweight division.

Since the Cypriot’s first loss in the Octagon, he has grown leaps and bounds as a fighter, embarking on a four-fight win streak over the likes of Jorge Rivera, Court McGee, and Riki Fukuda.

As Philippou readies for battle, he’s discovered that the bright lights are on him this time as he fights on the main card against Nick Ring at UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit. Although those bright lights are on and it’d be easy to stare into a future of title contention, Philippou isn’t being blinded. He has ate, slept and breathed this fight well before he even arrived in Montreal.

“I feel that things are moving towards the right direction and I feel that if I keep winning that everything else will come,” Philippou told MMAWeekly Radio.

“But right now, talking about a title shot doesn’t even cross my mind.  To be honest, I don’t even care.  Right now, I’m saying Nick Ring.  I wake up and I’m thinking Nick Ring.  I go to sleep and I’m thinking Nick Ring.  Now, winning this fight would definitely put me on the map and I’ll officially be a contender.

“Other than that, I just want to win my next fight and I’ll take it from there.  I’m not even thinking about world opponents or how many fights it’ll take to the title.  I’ll do one fight at a time and you can’t look over Nick Ring, Nick Ring is an amazing fighter.  All my focus is on Nick right now and if everything goes my way, we’ll talk again after the fight.”

Although Philippou would be the first one to tell you he’s ready to make the jump to fight a contender, his full focus remains on making a lasting impression against Nick Ring at UFC 154. And the Serra-Llongo Fight Team protégé makes it no secret that he intends to box with his Canadian opponent en route to victory.

“There’s no secret to what I’m going to do or what I usually do; I’m going to go in and strike with the guy.  I see Nick Ring as more of a jiu-jitsu practitioner.  I know that he chooses to strike most of his fights, but from what they told me, he’s a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and a very good jiu-jitsu practitioner.

“I’m looking to go out there and show my ability to fight and put on a great show.  After the crowd goes home and they say, ‘Oh, who’s that guy who knocked Nick Ring out? That guy is amazing.’ That’s my plan going out there, to put on a good enough show for them to remember after the next day or the following week.  I don’t want to go out there and roll around or hold each other and be a boring fight.  I want a highlight with it being the fight that you want to see again.”

At the end of the day, the importance of this fight against Ring weighs heavily on Philippou’s mind.  Although he blocks out the glamor that comes with an impressive performance, he knows that a win should put him on the right path towards middleweight contention.

Stay tuned to for all of your UFC 154 news and fight coverage.

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