John AlessioAfter a bit of a stumble to start out last year, John “The Natural” Alessio righted his ship and is coming into his first fight of 2012 on a winning streak.

“Obviously the year started a little bit shaky with the Siyar (Bahadurzada) fight and all those shenanigans, but after that, the year went pretty good,” said Alessio. “I rattled off two wins; I won my debut at lightweight (against Luiz Firmino). So I’m pretty happy with the way the year ended.”

Originally scheduled to face Ryan Healy in December, Alessio will get his opportunity to make his televised debut at lightweight when the two finally meet at Score Fighting Series on March 16 in Edmonton, Ontario.

“I really feel like I’m better everywhere than him,” said Alessio. “I feel like I’m going to be able to dictate where this fight goes – and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

“I feel like I can finish him. Once the choke is on, he can be as resilient as he wants, but after about seven seconds, he’s going to sleep. He can take a punch and he can take a beating, but I feel I have the power to knock him out.”

Alessio told that with an impressive win over Healy, he hopes to attract the attention of the UFC and return to Zuffa for the first time since 2008 when he was with the WEC.

“This is a fight where I feel like I can look really good and impress them and let them know how ready I am,” he said.

“I’m really hoping to get on that July Calgary UFC card. That’s close to my home town and I’ve fought in Alberta numerous times with the MFC and other shows. I have a good following in Alberta and British Columbia which is right next to it.”

After an admittedly destructive life outside the cage when he first was with the company, Alessio feels he’s turned his life around and can be the kind of fighter that can set an example for others around him.

“I’ve changed my life. I’m a good man, a good husband, and am trying to be a good father,” he said. “I’m trying to do everything right. I’m ready to be a positive role model to other fighters and kids who are into the sport.

“I’m not the one who’s out there popping drug tests, popping for steroids, or not making weight and all these things that fighters seem to get rewarded for. I’d like to portray an opposite role there.”

Having made great strides to improve both inside and outside the cage in recent years, Alessio feels this could be his year, and that other 155-pound fighters had best take notice.

“Obviously Ben Henderson is the man, Frankie Edgar is the man, but I really feel I can compete with those guys and beat them,” he said. “I don’t feel like there’s anybody in the weight class that I’m scared of or don’t want to fight. I invite every opportunity there is.

“If you’re a lightweight, you’re in my way and I’m coming for you.”

E-mail Mick Hammond
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