Since his release from the UFC in mid-2010, former Ultimate Fighter 11 middleweight Josh “Beast” Bryant has managed to win four fights in a row, because as he puts it, he doesn’t want what happened to him in his last fight with the promotion to become a pattern.
“I feel like I didn’t fight the kind of fight that I do and kind of went out there and did what Kyle Noke wanted to do and fought his fight,” said Bryant. “I’ve since made it a conscience effort to not let that happen again and so far it’s been working for me.
“No matter what anybody says, getting a contract in the UFC and then get it ripped out definitely puts a little chip on your shoulder. You’ve got something to prove to yourself and the people around you. Every time you’re out there you look at it as being the next step toward getting back to the big show.”
While he’s been successful over the last couple of years, it wasn’t always easy, as an injury sidelined Bryant for nearly a year during his winning streak.
“Having come off an injury, you’re always worried about your next fight and how your game plan is going to work and stuff like that, so I was pretty happy with both my fights this year,” he said. “I was able to get healthy and impose my will on my last two opponents.
“It is always nice to come off an injury and feel just as good as before it happened.”
Bryant’s success has earned him a middleweight title shot at Saturday’s King of the Cage: Unification show in Tulsa, Okla., where he’s scheduled to take on reigning champion Sean Strickland.
“I think (Strickland) is a strong guy and aggressive when pushed, so I think I’m going to be able to dictate the pace of the fight, which I like to do,” said Bryant. “I also feel like he doesn’t really set much up, he just reacts to what’s going on in the fight, so I think my experience will help me get a win over him.
“I’m looking to beat up on him a little bit standing up, force a scramble situation and possibly dominate him with my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu and get a win on the ground.”
A win over Strickland would put the cap on a year that’s been one of his best, but more importantly it will allow him to transition into 2013 with a winning streak that could help propel him back up to the next level.
“I take each fight as it comes, but I’m always putting my name out there and in the hat, and I think there’s some big doors open for me next year,” said Bryant. “I’ve been in contact with several promotions and I think there will be lots of opportunities.
“For now, I’m focused on this fight, focused on getting this win, because every loss hurts your chances and hurts your pocket. It’s not every day you get an opportunity like this, so when you get them you’ve got to capitalize on it, and that’s my game plan, to capitalize on it and use it.”