Mike Easton (13-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is absolutely giddy about the chance to trade hands with British scrapper Brad Pickett (22-7 MMA, 2-2 UFC). And he believes his technique will prove supreme for one reason: He doesn’t like getting slapped in the face by his dad.

“Growing up, especially as a kid, I was a really nice kid, and I used to get bullied in school,” Easton told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I had a hard time in school. I actually had a learning disability. I had a hard time reading and writing, and kids used to tease me all the time, and I’d get picked on and things like that. I was like, ‘Dad, can you teach me how to fight?’ He said, ‘You want to learn how to fight?’ ‘I want to learn how to fight.’ He said, ‘Alright.’”

So Easton and his dad went to a local park, and the first lesson was immediately underway. A little bit of tough love went a long way.

“He taught me how to throw a jab-cross and keep my hands up, but every time I dropped my hands, he’d smack my face,” Easton said. “When I say, ‘Smack me in the face,’ I mean smack me in the face. I was crying, but I was mad. I was like, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you just smacked me in the face.’”

But his dad’s lesson was clear, and it’s one Easton said he carries with him even today.

“He told me, ‘If you keep your hands up and your chin down, you will never, ever get knocked out. Never,’” Easton said. “And you see how I fight. I keep my chin down and my hands up, and it’s because of him that I fight that way, especially in close combat. My hands are up, and they’re glued to my face.”

Easton will certainly need to keep his hands up at next week’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 event, where he meets an always-exciting Pickett on the evening’s main card. A three-time “Fight of the Night” winner during his time in the UFC and WEC, Pickett is known for exciting appearances each and every time he steps in the cage.

Easton is well aware of the reputation and can’t wait for the chance to match skills.

“I can’t wait to throw down with Pickett because it’s definitely a perfect match for me, I believe,” Easton said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

And Easton believes the key to winning may very well lie in that first-ever boxing lesson.

“Truth be told, that’s what I believe I have over Brad Pickett,” Easton said. “I’m not even going to lie to you guys. His chin does pop up. It pops up a lot when it gets into a wild (exchange). Especially when he tends to brawl, his chin pops up. It pops up all the time, and he drops his hands. So that’s what I’m banking on.

“I know I’m more technical than he is. He’s an awesome fighter, and he does have knockout power, but he can’t deny the fact that I’ve got knockout power, as well.”

If Easton delivers on his promise, he’s likely to find a willing dance partner. Pickett was stymied by Eddie Wineland in his most recent appearance, and he’s expressed a willingness to stand and trade. If that happens, Easton and Pickett could very easily steal the show.

And Easton is pretty confident he knows exactly how it will all play out.

“I know my chin is going to hold up, for sure,” Easton said. “Although I’m in it for the war, I’m still looking at it as a tactical fight. Put a show on for the fans, but you still have to come correct with Brad Pickett.

“My whole gameplan is to fight him on the inside but very smart. So it’s going to be a good time. I’m going to keep a real high punch count.”

UFC on FUEL TV 9 takes place April 6 at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena. The evening’s main card, including Easton vs. Pickett, airs on FUEL TV following prelims that stream on Facebook.

For more on UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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