Back in the win column with his first win in two years, Houston Alexander is ready to return to MMA's biggest stage.
Alexander used an impressive Muay Thai display to cut down Sherman Pendergarst at Adrenaline MMA IV last weekend.
And as Alexander recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
), the popular fighter and Nebraska hip-hop DJ is now planning a return to the octagon in December.
Alexander, who splashed onto the UFC scene in 2007 with swift and brutal knockout wins over Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara, then hit a skid and suffered consecutive losses to Thiago Silva, James Irvin and Eric Schafer. When a broken bone in his hand forced the cancellation of a May bout with Andre Gusmao at UFC 98, he and the UFC came up with an alternative plan.
With Monte Cox's Adrenaline MMA organization heading to Council Bluffs, Iowa, for a Sept. 18 show, the Omaha-based fighter got permission to compete on the local card.
"When the opportunity came up to fight in this area again, we took it," Alexander said. "(UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva gave us permission, and then they gave me Sherman Pendergarst."
Pendergarst launched his carer with an impressive 8-3 record, but following a loss to Antoni Hardonk at UFC 65, he began an epic skid with a 3-11 record over his past 14 fights.
Still, the hard-hitting Baltimore native had a distinct size advantage and packs a wallop with his punches. For a fighter such as Alexander, who will stand and trade with anyone, it was a potentially dangerous matchup with a lot of risk and little potential for reward.
Alexander, though, crippled him with leg kicks and forced the TKO stoppage at the 1:51 mark of the first round of their co-headline fight.
"That's the Muay Thai way," said Alexander, who's trained by well-regarded striking coach Mick Doyle. "You break down a guy with leg kicks. ... It was beautiful man. When you see his stance go limp, you know you've got him."
After the victory, an emotional Alexander hit his knees.
He told MMAjunkie.com Radio the reaction wasn't about the win but more about his hard work finally paying off.
"Whether I was in the ring or not, I was always in the gym constantly, constantly trying to perfect my fighting style," said Alexander, who also spent time with jiu-jitsu ace Jeremy Horn in recent months. "I think [my reaction] was more about all the hard work ... that's been going into getting me to the point where I'm at now."
Confident and eager to return to the octagon, Alexander said he'll likely get his chance in December. The UFC has cards scheduled on Dec. 5 (The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale) and Dec. 12 (UFC 107), with the latter the likely option for Alexander.
"No opponent has been figured out," Alexander said. "But I'm ready. I'm ready for whoever they give me."