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in an article taken from the mmajunkie radio show...

Patrick Cote is enjoying the moment.

The UFC middleweight has spent 14 months on the shelf after his knee collapsed in the third round of an October 2008 title bout with champion Anderson Silva, and for most of 2009, he took baby steps in and out of the gym.

The injury had come at the apex of his career and cast a big "what if" around the outcome of the fight, and ultimately, his title worthiness.

Like most fighters, Cote worked around the injury and improved on the things he could. The time off bettered his golf game – before he fought professionally, he wanted to make a living on the links – but he was restless and tired of watching the middleweight division pass him by. While he was benched, jiu-jitsu specialist Thales Leites flung himself at Silva's belt and failed miserably. He wanted another chance.

He's "The Predator," after all. And one who smiles after punches fly.

Cote (13-5 MMA, 4-5 UFC) is back in the thick of the fight game again, finally, and has a rendezvous Saturday with Alan Belcher at UFC 113 in Montreal. The event is three hours by car from his home in Quebec City. He's loving every minute of it: the preparation, the interviews, the pre-fight golf. He feels he owes the fans a stellar performance.

"I'm going to deliver a good fight because I received so much support from the fans," Cote recently told MMAjunkie Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Everybody was so nice with me, so I think they deserve a good performance from me. ... I'm going to give that to them."

Just don't ask him for tickets.

Alan Belcher (15-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) is not a tuneup fight by any stretch of the imagination. A Muay Thai technician, he has taken out many tough guys, most recently Wilson Gouveia at UFC 107, who chose to stand in front of him. In recent years, he's added submissions to his arsenal. He's just as much a predator as Cote.

"He's not going down on the first big punch I'm going to give him," Cote said. "He's a gamer. He has a good chin."

But that's the way the French-Canadian fighter wants it.

"We wanted a big fight right away for my comeback, and Alan Belcher is no joke," Cote said. "I respect him a lot. He's going to come here in Montreal and bring it. The first time he came to Montreal, he didn't do very well against Jason Day. But I'm sure he wants to come here and prove to everybody that was just a mistake."

Day, a native of Alberta, Canada, upset Belcher at UFC 83 more than two years ago with a TKO victory. Cote was Belcher's original opponent at the event but broke his finger and was forced to withdraw from the fight. So it's not the first time the two have eyed each other.

Cote, a member of Brazilian Top Team Canada, is usually in camp for two months before fights. This time around, he spent 11 weeks in full preparation and jumped between his Montreal gym and Mark DelaGrotte's Sityodtong Academy in Massachusetts. Former UFC champion Murilo Bustamonte and current UFC fighter Rousimar Palhares stopped by in Montreal.

He believes his head and heart are in the right place for Saturday's fight. And while a win over Belcher could be the quickest way to return to contender status, he won't say he's in spitting distance of a second shot at Silva.

Just being in the game is enough for now.

"I don't want to know about it," Cote said. "I'm going to take one fight at a time. If I'm looking [past] Alan Belcher, it's going to be a big mistake for me. Belcher ... wants his title fight too.

"I don't have any control [over] the decision of the UFC giving me the title fight or giving me good fight [to get] on top. The only control I have is to be in shape and ready to fight ... against Alan Belcher, so all my focus is there."
Link
 

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Cote is a beast, it's just difficult to predict a fight with a guy coming off such on long layoff. The safe bet is probably Belcher by decision, as the ump owes him a call, but I'd love to see Cote put him to sleep.
 

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Cote via 1st round KO. Everybody who works with Cote is raving about how much faster his hands have gotten and Belcher isn't exactly a defensive striker. Cote is gonna use Belcher's face to make a statement.
 

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I think it's gonna be a slugfest for as long as it lasts. Belcher is an aggressive striker, but Cote has better technique and will probably be faster than Belcher. He's gonna come out on top after every exchange. I've got Cote via TKO in round 1. :thumbsup:
 

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Cote is a beast, it's just difficult to predict a fight with a guy coming off such on long layoff. The safe bet is probably Belcher by decision, as the ump owes him a call, but I'd love to see Cote put him to sleep.
Belcher by Decision in Canada, I doubt it.

Please see Sam Stout vs Matt Wiman.
 

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Cote via 1st round KO. Everybody who works with Cote is raving about how much faster his hands have gotten and Belcher isn't exactly a defensive striker. Cote is gonna use Belcher's face to make a statement.
I dunno, man. Had it not been for the long layoff then I would have betted on Cote for sure. But Belcher keeps getting better and better and as much as a respect Cote for wanting to return to action against a tough opponent, I cant help but think that requesting such a difficult fight was a wise move. If he breezes past Belcher like you say he will, then Cote is going to be feared big time amonst the division. Thats a big if, though.
 

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Cote 13 hours ago (off his twitter) pre weight cut at 198 pounds.


Looks like he is in better shape than when he fought Silva to me.
 

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I think that Cote will make a big statement when he fights Belcher. According to people close to him, he is on outstanding shape, his striking has improved, and he is hungrier than ever. I think that Cote will stop Belcher.
 

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I see Cote dropping him like a sack of bricks. Belcher's most notable win is against Kang, who was embarrassing him for the first half of the fight, until Belcher got lucky. Kang for some reason in the UFC can't produce after round 1.
 

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Cote is gonna maul him but I am pumped to find out what all the hype is about and see what Cote is gonna look like in the cage. Worst case scenario Belcher is not good enough to sub Cote and he doesn't hit hard enough to KO him, worst case scenario at some point Cote will catch Belcher but expect a domination.
 

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Well, I hope you guys are right because I like Cote and would like to see him doing well, but cant help but think that Belcher will be too much for him in the end and that Cote wont find his range beyond the 3rd round. Cote has the homecrowd advantage and probably has improved, but something just tells me Belcher via submission.
 

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Nah, Cote has never lost in Canada and Belcher is not gonna be the man to break that.
 

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Cote via 1st round KO. Everybody who works with Cote is raving about how much faster his hands have gotten and Belcher isn't exactly a defensive striker. Cote is gonna use Belcher's face to make a statement.
I was thinking KO too, but I was thinking 2nd round. I think he'd rough him up in 1 and sing him a lullaby in 2. Maybe it might end up TKO, but I very much doubt this one will go the distance.
 

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Cote via 1st round KO. Everybody who works with Cote is raving about how much faster his hands have gotten and Belcher isn't exactly a defensive striker. Cote is gonna use Belcher's face to make a statement.
I agree with this. I'm kind of confused on how some people think that Belcher will play it safe and pick Cote apart from the outside. That requires some solid defense which I don't Belcher has shown. He got tagged a lot against Wilson Gouveia and that wasn't the first time he has shown a lack of defense. Cote also hits hard at 185 and has shown a granite chin. In a stand up war, I can see Cote winning this by technical knock out.
 

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Go Cote! I hope he wins, well actually I KNOW he'll win! He's a good straight up guy with an exciting style.
 
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