It's been longer than you think since Paul Daley (28-11-2) was dismissed from the UFC following his post-fight incident with Josh Koscheck at UFC 113.
His post-fight "swipe" at Koscheck was 16 months ago, and a lot has happened since then.
Daley has fought for four different promotions (soon to be five), posted mixed results, and tried to maintain an acceptable level of decorum in the hopes of one day returning to the world's top MMA promotion.
"If (UFC Chairman and CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) came to me and said, 'What you did we can look past that. Would you like to come back to the UFC?' I just want everyone to be clear that yeah, I've got nothing personal against the UFC, and I do think they are a great organization," Daley told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
Technically, Daley has had ties to the UFC again since the organization purchased Strikeforce in March. He became property of Forza LLC (the subsidiary of UFC parent company Zuffa LLC), which was created to house the acquired Strikeforce assets.
Although he does not anticipate Strikeforce being a functioning promotion for too much longer, he did sign what he called a "partial extension" with Strikeforce to be able to take his most recent fight with Jordan Radev in September at BAMMA 7.
All Daley can do is stay busy while everything else sorts itself out.
He's back in the win column after a hard-fought unanimous-decision win over Radev following back-to-back losses to Nick Diaz and Tyron Woodley.
"I knew [Radev] was going to be tough," Daley said. "Hats off. I was surprised. I hit him with two left hooks that I'm sure would have toppled a building, and he was just still there.
"At the end of the first round, I hit him with a knee as well. It knocked him over, and he rolled back, and he just got up and shrugged his shoulders, and it was a fully connected knee. The guy was just the Terminator."
Prior to the bout (and following his UFC release), Daley had defeated Daniel Acacio in Impact FC, Jorge Masvidal in Shark Fights, Scott Smith in Strikeforce, and Yuya Shirai in BAMMA in succession before dropping the fights to Diaz and Woodley under the Strikeforce banner.
"I'm just happy I'm back on the winning side of things," Daley said.
"For me, it's how you lost more so than the fact that you lost, and what you learn from it. From both the losses, I learned a lot. I think it's just beneficial to me."
Not only has he been logging a significant amount of cage time, he's also continued to try to evolve as a fighter in order to be better prepared for a second go-around in the UFC if the opportunity does come his way.
In his fight with Woodley, and in many other recent bouts, he's showed gainful improvements with his wrestling and overall grappling game.
"It's nice when you keep persevering and then in the fight it shows and you manage to pull off the stuff you've been practicing," Daley said. "The changes I'm making now I can compete with a lot of the (UFC) welterweights coming through and a lot of the guys that are still there."
Despite the improvements, he's far from satisfied.
Daley recently sought out Magnus Hansson for additional training when he was in the U.K. for the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championships. Hansson is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Duda Soares and brown belt under 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu's Eddie Bravo.
Daley also is headed to Canada to train at Firas Zihabi's Tristar Gym ahead of his Oct. 21 fight in Montreal against Luigi Fioravanti at Ringside 12.
"I go to Amsterdam next week to finish up my sparring," Daley said. "Then me and Andre Winner will be linking up with the champion himself, Georges St-Pierre, who's a good friend of Andre Winner's now, and I'll be doing the last bit of prep at Tristar."
While he's not looking past Fioravanti, it's hard for him not to anticipate and hope for a potential return to the octagon in the near future if he continues to perform at a high level.
Time heals all wounds, as they say.
In fact, Daley already has an opponent picked out if everything comes to fruition.
"I've spoken to a lot of people," Daley said. "A rematch with Nick Diaz, with the UFC's marketing power – with FOX and everything now – I think they can market the rematch with Nick Diaz if he falls against B.J. Penn really, really well.
"I just want to put the idea out there."