Unless you're talking about Georges St. Pierre, the notion of "home-field advantage" is almost dismissed outright when discussing mixed martial arts. That's because it's an individual sport and while entire cities can and do rally around teams, it's rare to see that for any one man.
Still, there is undoubtedly an added edge when one fighter, in this case Claude Patrick, gets the opportunity to play host to his opponent, in this case Brian Ebersole. The two will square off tonight (Sat., Dec. 10, 2011) at UFC 140: "Jones vs. Machida" in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Patrick has quietly amassed an extremely impressive 14-1 fighting record since his professional debut back in 2002. After a loss in his second bout, he took a three year break and came back stronger than ever, having won every single contest since that defeat.
And a big reason for that has been the fact that he's fought so close to home almost every time out. Two of his three UFC wins have come up in "The Great White North" and now he gets to go back home to try to make it number four.
Standing in his way is Brian Ebersole, who is, perhaps fitting enough, likely the most prepared of any welterweight to travel into hostile waters and not be affected by it.
That's because he's a veteran of over 60 fights. That's enough to make him a legitimate tough guy. He's seen it all and done even more. Heading to Canada to beat up a local likely sounds as exciting to this man as grabbing a cup of coffee with his significant other.
He's not looking for a title shot. Just interesting fights. You might think Patrick doesn't represent that but Ebersole's original opponent tonight was Rory MacDonald, a budding superstar Canadian who presented one hell of a challenge.
Patrick will have to do. And he'll head straight into the belly of the beast to pick up his tenth win in a row to earn him yet another interesting UFC fight.
If he can.