No longer fighting under pressure, Patrick Cote is ready to put away Cung Le at UFC 148

Photo of Patrick Cote by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting.

After winning four consecutive fights outside the Octagon, Patrick Cote once again finds himself back in the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Not because he begged his way back with the promotion, he simply worked hard, got the victories he needed and waited ... patiently.

Thanks, unfortunately, to the many injuries that have plagued the UFC over the last few months, Cote now finds himself back with the world's pre-eminent mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion on quite possibly the biggest card of the year, taking on former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Cung Le at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"The Predator" was given the nod to take on Le when Rich Franklin -- Cung's original opponent -- was taken off of the Fourth of July weekend event and pitted against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 when Vitor Belfort suffered a broken hand.

Though Cote considers himself a full-time fighter, that hasn't stopped the Canadian from taking a page from Kenny Florian's book and focus on his budding broadcasting career with the promotion, serving as the UFC's French-language commentator.

Speaking to National Post, Cote talked about his success away from fighting, as well as the tough challenge that lies ahead of him in "Sin City:"

"It's going very well. I'm doing a lot of TV, I'm going to have my own show next season (on TVA). So it's pretty nice. There is a lot of UFC shows and I do all of them so I'm pretty on point about what's going on in the UFC."

Aside from fighting and his broadcasting duties, Cote also has a nutrition company (www.korefitliving.com). Being financially set, says Cote, is one of the reasons he believes he is doing so well in his fighting career -- he is no longer under the pressure of fighting just to earn a paycheck:

"I took care of my future. It's OK. If I have to stop fighting tomorrow, I can. Now I'm doing it because I love to fight, I still enjoy it. That's why I'm fighting better now, I think. I don't have all this pressure that I need to fight, I'm scared to lose because I have to feed my family."

Cote would have loved nothing more than to make his return in Canada, hoping to land a spot him a spot at UFC 149 in Calgary on July 21, 2012, but he will take what he can get and fighting on the same card the will feature the biggest fight of the year between Anderson Silva taking on Chael Sonnen , is not too shabby, either:

"I was watching the card every day (UFC 149). Man, there were more and more fights booked and I wasn't there. So I was kind of wondering what was going on. But yeah, I was very confident about being back in the UFC, but not on a big show like that (UFC 148) , probably the biggest card of the year and not in a big fight like that too."

His return back to the UFC won't be easy, as he will take on the always dangerous striker Le, who is hungry for his first win inside the Octagon after coming up short to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139. Cote says the key in defeating the Sanshou specialist is to keep constant pressure:

"He's a very dangerous striker. Explosive, very agile with his legs. Some weird angles. He's tricky too ... I'm going to have my hands full but I'm really confident that I'll be able to put him away. The key is to put pressure on him. I can't let him fight his fight. If I let him take control of the pace of the fight, I'm going to be in big trouble ... He has to fight my fight."

Ironically enough, Cote will share the same Octagon that night with the person who welcomed him into the UFC eight years ago in Tito Ortiz, who will be competing for the final time.

Anyone think Cote can pull off the upset and defeat Cung, handing him his second consecutive loss and possibly his walking papers? Or will Le bounce back and give Cote a rude welcome back?

Opinions, please.

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