Cote beats the odds

Cote beats the odds

Story by Anthony Springer Jr
Photo by Chris Cozzone

The UFC seems to operate on a three strikes rule. If a fighter loses three consecutive times in the Octagon, said fighter is typically not heard from again.

Patrick “The Predator” Cote is the anomaly in this equation; the French Canadian fighter dropped his first four fights in the UFC.

Despite the slow start, Cote (13-4, 4-4 UFC) showed signs of being something special in his UFC debut. At UFC 50: The War of ’04, Cote moved up to light heavyweight on a moment’s notice, taking on then champion Tito Ortiz when the initial challenger bowed out with injury. Though Cote lost the fight, he went the distance with the much larger “Huntington Beach Bad Boy.” After losing the “War of ’04,” 2005 proved just as problematic for Cote in the UFC. He was submitted by Joe Doerkson at UFC 52 and dropped a bout to Ultimate Fighter alum Chris Leben via split decision.

While the losses proved to be disappointing, Cote was never down on himself. “I’ve always believed in myself and I knew I had the potential to fight in [the UFC],” he says on keeping himself motivated in spite of the losses. In his time away from the UFC, he captured several middle weight titles in Canada, defeating the likes of Jason MacDonald, Bill Mahood, and Jason Day in the process.

Cote got another break from the UFC on season four of The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback. “The Predator” made it to the series finale—which featured former UFC stars looking for Octagon redemption—before losing to Travis Lutter via arm bar. The loss to Lutter marked Cote’s fourth consecutive UFC defeat.

And then, something happened.

Cote received an opportunity to fight in the UFC again, gracing the Octagon at UFC 67- All or Nothing against Scott Smith. It was here that he finally tasted victory, besting Smith by unanimous decision. The win was the beginning of a four fight streak in the UFC. Cote went on to defeat Kendall Grove and Drew McFedries by TKO and found himself matched up with Ricardo Almeida at UFC 86—a match with title implications. Though the contest wasn’t as exciting as many hoped for, Cote won by split decision, setting up his upcoming match with middle weight champ, Anderson “The Spider” Silva at this Saturday’s UFC 90.

“It’s a great story,” Cote says of his rise to middle weight prominence. “I went 0-4 in the UFC and now I have the potential to be the world champion. I think it’s great.”

Becoming the UFC middleweight champion will be easier said than done. Since entering the UFC, Silva has gone on a tear, dismantling some of the best middle weight fighters in UFC history including Rich Franklin (twice), Nate Marquardt, and Dan Henderson. Cote remains undeterred at the thought of facing one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters in Silva, and insists he has what it takes to win.

“I always prepare mentally and physically, I’m always in good shape and I find a way to win. Against Anderson, I’ve prepared myself to give him a good war and I’ll take everything he can give me and give it back to him twice as hard.”

Both men have solid chins and the striking skills to make UFC 90’s main event a fight for the ages. Silva will bring a significant size and reach advantage into the cage, something Cote has also trained to counter.

“I have a really good training partner and I spent some time in Boston with a good Muay-Thai training partner. I’ve also trained with some guys in Thailand. I’m ready for his style and his reach.”

Win or lose, Cote has proved he can defy the odds and in the process, written a comeback story for himself that rivals any other in the sport’s short history.

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