Thales Leites got a pretty raw deal at the end of his first UFC stint.
The Brazilian middleweight submission specialist earned a title shot against Anderson Silva after a five fight winning streak, but when his gameplan consisted of flopping to his back and attempting to coax "The Spider" into entering his guard, he was doomed to failure in an extremely lackluster decision.
Despite having just fought for the belt, his next fight against Alessio Sakara was placed on the UFC 101 preliminary card. Leites put forth a good effort, but walked away with a very controversial split decision loss.
The biggest surprise, however, was that he lost more than the fight, he lost his job, getting his walking papers in the aftermath of the bout.
Leites has spent the last four years working his way back, going 6-1 over the timespan, and he'll finally get his shot again this weekend (Aug. 3, 2013) against Tom Watson at UFC 163 in his native Brazil.
Leites tells UFC.com that getting cut was actually a good thing for him.
"I got my mind straight again, and today, I see that it (being cut) was good for me because I'm more mature, I'm more confident in myself, and everything is better now."
To Leites, there's no point in dwelling on the past. Why not focus on the potentially promising future?
"I can't change the past, but I can build a new future, and that's what I'm doing. I'm older, stronger mentally and physically, much more confident, mature, well-trained, and everything is better now to me. I'm feeling great, I had a great camp for this fight, and I'm a hundred percent ready. I want this victory more than ever, and I will beat this guy for sure."
The Nova Uniao fighter believes he's learned from his prior mistakes and will take that knowledge into his fight this weekend.
"To me, the UFC is my home. It's where I'll be for a long time and I want to be fighting as much as I can in the UFC. I won't make the same mistakes I made before and I will do my best in every fight."
Will Leites have a solid second run with the promotion? Or will his shaky past rear its ugly head?