In an organization that often will release a fighter after a single loss, Pete Sell (7-4) has survived four-straight UFC defeats.
But as Sell recently told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
), his bout with Josh Burkman at Saturday night's "UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote" offers a chance to erase three years of frustration.
"[A win would] mean everything to me," Sell said. "Throw me a freaking bone here, man."
Sell won his first six professional bouts, including his debut for the organization in 2005 at UFC 51. After earning a submission victory over Phil Baroni, Sell would then lose his next four bouts in the UFC -- to Scott Smith, Thales Leites and twice to Nate Quarry.
Sell's last bout was in September of 2007, and "Drago" said he has changed with the time off.
"It was just a lot of down time," Sell said. "A lot of time reflecting on my life and the direction I'm going.
"I'm going for the gusto. I'm going to try and make it with this fight game. To me you've got to either do this 100 percent or you're not. I want to put in all my time, training three times a day, and really do it for real. I don't want to do it half-ass."
Sell admits that hasn't always been the case.
"There were times where I was doing it half-ass," Sell said. "Or I was kind of, in between fights, not training as much. You know, partying, doing my thing. I'm a lot more serious now."
In addition to a refocused intensity in his training routine, the already chiseled Sell has made the drop from middleweight to welterweight. The bout with Burkman will be his first in the weight class.
"I always felt strong at 185 (pounds)," Sell said. "I'm going to feel real strong at this weight. I'm going against lighter guys, and I feel a lot faster. Everything is flowing better, and I feel more agile."
While always dangerous, Burkman has also struggled as of late. Defeated in three of his past four bouts, Burkman will also be looking to answer his critics in the bout.
Sell believes he has a game plan prepared that will earn him a win.
"I see the guy is an athletic guy, and he definitely comes hard and looks for the bombs," Sell said. "I definitely feel that I've seen him get tired in a couple of fights, later on in the later rounds. I just feel like I'm in such good shape right now that that's definitely not happening to me. Whether that happens to him or not, I just know that it's definitely not happening to me."
Sell also said he spent his time off focusing on his ground skills -- an area that he previously felt was a liability. Of course, the hard-hitting sell will never stray too far from his roots.
"I like to mix it up more now," Sell said. "I'll do whatever it takes. At heart, I'm a fighter. I definitely like to bang it out. It's fun.
"But to me, you can't go in there and think, 'Alright, this fight's going to go this way and this is what I'm going to do,' all of the time. You have to see how it goes. I have some gameplans ready to go, and I'm pretty much ready for anything."
While Sell hasn't always been successful in the UFC, the 26-year-old has always been exciting. And the New York native knows that with just a few brief changes, his career could have taken a completely different path.
"I've had some tough breaks," Sell said. "With the second Quarry fight, I had him out for a second. I was on my way to winning that fight. With the Scott Smith fight, I hit him with a body shot and then I got caught.
"Imagine if I won those two fights, and I got knockout of the night. Imagine that. What position would I be in now? I may be doing something else. Maybe I would have never even went to 170 (pounds). Maybe I'd still be at 185.
"Life throws curveballs at you, and there's bumps in the road. You've got to take it in stride and just move forward and see what happens."
Sell will see what life has in store for him Saturday night. But win or lose, Sell said he will enter the bout with no regrets.
"I really feel like I did the right thing," Sell said. "I have no regrets, and I feel like I deserve good things to come out of this fight because I've done everything right -- which I can't say about a lot of other times. I've done well.
"I haven't always done the right thing. But for the last eight months, I've been killing it. I'm ready to rock."