Bobby Voelker (24-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) said he isn’t being treated differently now that the name of his official promoter changed from Strikeforce to the UFC. But that’s probably because he hasn’t paid much attention.
Bigger things are on his mind – namely, fighting Patrick Cote (18-8 MMA, 5-7 UFC) at UFC 158 and showing well after a 20-month layoff.
“Afterwards, I’ll pay attention, but right now, it’s the biggest fight of my life,” he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
UFC 158 takes place Saturday at Montreal’s Bell Centre. Voelker and Cote meet on the final FX-televised preliminary-card bout prior to the pay-per-view main-card.
Voelker appeared to be MIA following the conclusion of a trilogy with now-UFC welterweight Roger Bowling under the Strikeforce banner. But in reality, he tore his ACL in preparation for his next fight, and spent a year on the sidelines.
“I listened to my doctor,” he said. “Most fighters are pretty stubborn guys; I’m a stubborn guy. But everyone told me, ‘Listen to your doctor and listen to your physical therapist. Do everything they tell you to do.’ And I really did.”
Now, Voelker said his hurt knee feels better than his good one.
“This definitely has to be my run,” he said. “I have to beat Cote and continue to get another three, four and five wins after that just to get up to that title shot that everyone wants to be at. I have to perform to the best of my ability every fight.”
Voelker was best known for a trio of fights with Bowling. The two headlined a pair of Strikeforce Challengers events, with Voelker earning second-round TKO stoppages in the latter two. Bowling is expected to make his octagon debut next month at UFC on FOX 7.
“Roger’s a great guy, and it was a nice little trilogy we had there, but it’s nice to get a different opponent, and an opponent on such a high level,” Voelker said.
In his time with Strikeforce, Voelker went 4-1 in the promotion’s Challengers series. And while he’s unhappy that he spent the tail end of his tenure in recovery, he takes a positive attitude about that part of his career.
“I always make the best out of everything,” he said. “I’m grateful for the time I spent there. Strikeforce gave me a nice name to head into the UFC. You can’t replace that for everything. Would I have liked to have done more in Strikeforce? Of course I would have. It just didn’t happen. Obviously, that wasn’t my time. Now is my time.”
Cote, he said, is the perfect start to what he hopes is an uninterrupted career in the UFC. The French Canadian makes his welterweight debut with the fight.
“It’s right on my level,” Voelker said. “He likes to stand and punch it out, and that’s what I like to do. If we’ve got to mix it up with some wrestling or jiu-jitsu, that’s great. This is definitely the splash I have to make, and Cote is the perfect name for it.”
For more on UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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