October 22nd 2004 was a day that Patrick Cote will never forget. It was the day he fought his idol, Tito Ortiz in what would be his UFC debut. He would lose that fight but took Ortiz the distance and held his own, walking away looking like the better fighter that night.
Fast forward four years, nearly to the day, and “The Predator” finds himself up against what could be the toughest fight of his career when he comes full circle and gets a crack at Anderson Silva and the UFC Middleweight Championship.
Not to bad for a guy that many counted out after he left the UFC only to return on The Ultimate Fighter 4 and go all the way to the finals. Since then, Cote has won five straight fights and will look to cement his name in the sport by doing what many believe is impossible and defeat Silva for the title.
In this MMANews.com exclusive interview, Cote talks with Chris Howie about many topics concerning the fight and much much more.
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: Patrick, how has training gone leading up to this big fight with Anderson Silva?
Patrick Cote: It has gone really really well. I’ve spent a lot of time in Boston training at Sityodtong and things have gone very good. I haven’t had any bad things happen at all since my training began so it’s all good.
MMANews.com Who else have you been training with?
Patrick Cote: Well I am training in Boston with Mark Dellagrotte as well as with my home team in Quebec which is BTT Canada (Brazilian Top Team).
MMANews.com How has Mark help hone your game and help in your development?
Patrick Cote: Mark has already been in the corner for three fighters against Anderson Silva so he knows him very well and knows how to beat him. We are going to have a really great game plan. I am in the very best shape of my life and I am focused and healthy, mentally and physically. With the help of my trainer I will go in very brave and confident. We have the perfect game plan to beat Anderson Silva.
MMANews.com How do you feel you match up with Anderson?
Patrick Cote: I feel great. I have nothing to lose. Actually, I’ve never fought with anger before going into a fight but I can say that going into this fight I am a little pissed. There is a lack of respect towards me in the media and from a lot of people because they are already looking past me and to other fights like a super fight between Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva. That motivates me to train harder and show the world that I am here. When the fight arrives it will be a big upset.
MMANews.com What would it mean to you to win the championship?
Patrick Cote: It would be a big accomplishment. I do this sport to be the champ and to be number one and to be the best fighter in the world. Now I the chance to win the title and I train hard for that and will be ready to be the champ. Winning the title for me would be like the dream for many Canadians and that is to win the Stanley Cup. I am focused and I will be ready to go.
MMANews.com Would do you have to say to the people that are overlooking you going into this fight?
Patrick Cote: Nothing. I will show them. I’m not going to start a war with the media because everyone has their opinions but I do take it personally a little bit when people don’t think I deserve to be here and that I am already dead. We will see.
MMANews.com You were in the UFC at one point and were asked to go and get some wins. Then you returned on the Ultimate Fight 4 and despite losing in the finals to Travis Lutter, you have really been shining lately by winning your last five fights. When you left the UFC the first time what did you tell yourself you had to do to come back stronger?
Patrick Cote: I’ve always believed in myself. I’ve had some bad luck in the past like when I fought Joe Doerksen and I was winning that fight but made a rookie mistake. When I fought Leben, you know, I didn’t fight the best fight of my life but I felt that I won that fight. With the combination of BTT Canada and Mark Dellagrotte I am undefeated and I feel I am where I need to be to be a champion.
MMANews.com What were your thoughts when received the title shot at Silva?
Patrick Cote: I was very happy because I want to be the best. I knew that (Yushin) Okami was supposed to be before me but I knew that if I beat (Ricardo) Almeida that I would get a title fight. I was on vacation when Okami broke his hand so I did not find out right away. When I came back it was just crazy. I had a ton of email and my manager told me the news so I was very happy.
MMANews.com What are you seeing in Silva’s game that you will be able to exploit?
Patrick Cote: I like to stand on my feet and exchange. I think Anderson Silva will be happy to fight me because I want to stand and trade on the feet. I think it is going to be a war that no one is going to expect. After the third round people will finally say that “Cote is for real” and late in the fourth or fifth I will knock him out.
MMANews.com So you see this going into the late rounds?
Patrick Cote: Yeah. I don’t see it ending in the first but I know someone is going to get knocked out and that is not going to be me.
MMANews.com How is your cardio and conditioning coming in?
Patrick Cote: It is perfect. I’ve already fought five round fights before. I have fought Jason MacDonald in TKO and submitted him in the fifth round so I know exactly what it’s like to go that long. I will need to be in the best shape of my life to put the game plan we have on. Previously I used to do my conditioning myself but now I have a new conditioning coach so I am even ten times better than I was before.
MMANews.com What else have you done differently for this fight?
Patrick Cote: Not that much. For sure I have spent a lot of time in Boston. We are doing some things there that people may not expect. We know how to beat Anderson and now I have to go and do it.
MMANews.com Georges St. Pierre is dominating the welterweight division these days and now you are fighting for the middleweight title. What do you think that says about the caliber of fighters coming out of Canada?
Patrick Cote: The thing is, we help each other very well and we have a lot of great fighters coming up in Canada. Georges helps me a lot and I also help him and then David Loiseau helps both of us out and we help him. We are from small towns in Canada but we are here and we are true warriors.
MMANews.com You have fought some big names in the sport and have a lot of great fights under your belt. Which of your fights have been your favorites?
Patrick Cote: It would probably be the Tito Ortiz fight. That guy was my idol and to fight your idol, it was just crazy. It was a good fight to make your name in and that is exactly what I did. At that time everyone thought I was crazy to take that fight but I think that helped me grow so much because look at where I am at today. I am fighting for the title.
MMANews.com When you were offered the fight (Ortiz) did you even think twice about it?
Patrick Cote: Yeah but I had nothing to lose at the time. I went there and nobody knew me before. I was the fat chubby Canadian. I may have lost the fight but I came out the winner that night because I did something that nobody believed I could do.
MMANews.com You mention Tito as being one of you idols. Who were some of your other inspirations for getting into the sport.
Patrick Cote: Randy Couture was a big inspiration for me. Muhammed Ali was also big for me. He changed the sport of boxing. I like the types of guys that are so good they change their sport.
MMANews.com Who are some of your favorite fighters to watch?
Patrick Cote: You know I was always a fan of Vitor Belfort and always liked watching him. I liked his style and now he is a middleweight so maybe one day I will fight him.
MMANews.com When did you first start training MMA and what is your background?
Patrick Cote: I did a lot of Judo when I was wrong. When I was 19 I started to box. I have a lot of amateur boxing fights. Then I started doing BJJ and combined it all into MMA.
MMANews.com Who are some up and coming Canadian fighters that people should be looking out for?
Patrick Cote: I spare with a guy named Mike Ritchie who is a 155er and he is fighting in TKO right now. He is really good. There are a lot of good fighters in Canada right now but he is the first guy that pops into my head.
MMANews.com How much of a help was TKO in getting you to where you are today?
Patrick Cote: You know, me, Georges, David and many others all started out in TKO. It is a good place to start your MMA career. They have produced a lot of great fighters in TKO.
MMANews.com How do you predict the fight ending on October 25th?
Patrick Cote: I’m sure it will be a war. I hope I fight the best Anderson Silva and that he comes in great shape. I’ll be in crazy shape in this fight so I will be pushing the pace. I’m going to knock him out.
MMANews.com Final question Patrick, who wins the Stanley Cup this year?
Patrick Cote: I’m going with either the San Joe Sharks or maybe the Detroit Red Wings. They are very good.
MMANews.com Who’s you team?
Patrick Cote: I like the Edmonton Oilers. I like the Montreal Canadians to but I’m not a big fan of them.
MMANews.com Alright Patrick thanks for speaking with me today. Good luck on your quest for the title
Patrick Cote: Thank you very much!