It was quite a wake-up call.
Despite winning three straight fights including a vicious second round knockout of Aaron Simpson, Mike Pierce's upcoming (July 6, 2012) UFC 162 fight against David Mitchell is going to be the first bout on the preliminary card.
For a fighter who's been gaining consideration as a top 10 welterweight, the placement on the card was quite a slap in the face.
Pierce had two choices, sit back and complain or actually do something about it. He chose the latter.
The Sports Lab athlete has pledged to be more proactive, showcasing more of his personality in media appearances and will not be unwilling to call out future opponents. That's how he was able to get a 2012 main card fight against Josh Koscheck (which many feel he won) and he wants to get right back to that level of exposure.
Pierce spoke to MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission talking about his new approach to promotion, who his dream fights are and how he'd like to beat Mitchell in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're on a three fight winning streak, people are putting in votes for you to be a top 10 UFC welterweight, yet you're opening up the preliminary card at UFC 162 with your fight against David Mitchell. Does that make you want to change your approach to things, whether it's promotion, what you say, how you fight or anything?
Mike Pierce: Well I'll keep doing what I'm doing as far as training and fighting because I definitely found a style that works for me and I'm very difficult to deal with in the division. However, on the promotional side, something's got to change. I'll don't want to keep being on the undercard or be the opening act. That's not what I want. I want to be featured on the main card and all that stuff. Something in that way definitely has to change and I've got to come up with a plan to make that happen, but first and foremost I'm going to take care of David Mitchell on the 6th.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): So how would you theoretically change your approach?
Mike Pierce: On the promotional side of things? I'd just do more interviews like this, get out in front of people, make more appearances and just try to convey who I am to people. I don't think I've had enough time in the spotlight to really connect with people, gain the popularity that other guys have and I think that's what I've needed. I need more opportunities so I'm gonna take every chance I can get to get in front of people.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): There were a few opportunities for you to call out fighters after your win over Baczynski where you stopped his big streak. Is that something you'd consider doing as well?
Mike Pierce: Oh for sure. I've done it in the past. Hell, I got so much praise for calling out Josh Koscheck when I did and I got that fight. I did a really good job with that and that's more of where I need to get back to I think. That right there was a really good opportunity and had I won, I think I'd be in a much different position than I am now, even though I have no doubt in my mind that I did win that fight. (laughs) I just didn't get my hand raised at the end of the night. Had I had my hand raised, things would be different but that's more of what I want to get back to.
Gerry Rodriguez: Are there any guys out there that you think would make for great fights, anyone you'd like to challenge yourself against?
Mike Pierce: There's two guys that come to mind and that would be Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Condit. I think both of those guys are tough and both of those guys can be beat and they're both really relevant fighters right now.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Have you done anything different in preparation for this fight or are you satisfied with how everything's been going?
Mike Pierce: Nothing really super drastic, just small little refinements and I usually do that for every fight. I bring in a group of guys to help me prepare for my opponent and my coaching staff is still the same. We've got a good group of guys around me so I'm not really concerned about that. I did bring in a few guys to specifically prepare for David Mitchell. He's pretty slick on the ground, can use submissions and definitely knows how to get out of them. I've got a couple different black belts who are similar in style and size to him. I've definitely got my bases covered in regards to my ground game. I think this camp has been good and I have who I need to get me there for this fight.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you feel like you need to make a statement in this fight? Not just win but do something that will drop everyone's jaws?
Mike Pierce: Yeah, I want to win in dramatic fashion. I want to make a statement. I'm kinda pissed off. (laughs) Like I said, I want to get back to where I was with that Koscheck fight. I kinda had some momentum there and had I got my hand raised and got the victory, I'd have been on to bigger and better things. Right now, I'm opening for UFC 162 on the preliminary card and that's not where I want to be on the card. Yeah, I want to out there and end this fight quickly in dramatic fashion and move my way back up where I think I need to be.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Is there anything about Mitchell's game you're particularly concerned with? We hear about his submission game, but he hasn't tapped anyone in his UFC career yet.
Mike Pierce: No and that's the thing. He hasn't submitted anyone in the UFC. I'm pretty confident he's not gonna submit me. With my resume in the UFC alone, I've gone against some really good ground fighters and none of them have come even close to submitting me. I'd say the closest guy that has come to submitting me and he even had a rear naked choke and I was able to get out of that half dazed. I don't think I'll have to worry too much about him and I really think that's his only ace. I've seen his fights from his UFC debut up 'til now and I really don't think he has anything for me to be concerned about.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): When you picture this fight with David Mitchell that's coming up, how do you envision success?
Mike Pierce: Oh God, I'd really love a TKO or a knockout. Those are the most exhilarating. When you've got a guy beat down so bad that the ref decides that he's gonna pull you off, that's excellent, or when you feel a punch connect so well that it's over before the guy hits the canvas, you just get this rush of adrenaline. It's almost indescribable.
Mike would like to thank his team at Sports Lab, Jason House at Iridium and everyone that's supported him. You can follow him on Twitter @MikePierce170.
If you'd like to listen to our interview with Mike Pierce, just click the player below (Mike comes on at the 7:15 mark):