This Saturday, Bristol Marunde will walk in as a late replacement against former Strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and do so willingly, but there was a time when he wouldn't have.
"Fighting was a strange thing for me growing up," Marunde told Bleacher Report. " I was kind of the quiet kid who never got into fights. I was actually afraid of fighting. I actually remember getting beat up by a neighbor kid when I was young."
The fight started because Marunde squirted the child in the face with a water gun after the boy had asked him not to. Marunde did it anyway and found himself getting punched in the the stomach and with egg on his face.
The other child had been holding an egg at the time and smashed it against Marunde before he hit him. Still, he didn't fight back.
Marunde's introduction into the sport can be tied to his older brother Jeff Marunde who passed in 2007. He was such an impact on Marunde's life that his younger brother got a tattoo on his chest of his brother Jeff.
"He encouraged me to start fighting," Marunde mentioned. "He was a good judge of talent and he knew that I would be a good fighter. He told me that I needed to get in the cage and try this."
Marunde started training after that and ended up knocking out his first opponent in his amateur career. He was hooked after that.
It has led to him getting a fight with former champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza on less than a week's notice. The kid who was once scared to fight became the fighter who was willing to jump into the cage at short notice.
It isn't a surprise to him that he got it, either.
"I've been in Sean Shelby's (the matchmaker for Strikeforce) ear for a while, sending him video. I met him a couple weeks ago and I think that made a difference," Marunde told Bleacher Report.
That, plus Marunde winning his last four fights, didn't hurt either.
Marunde is no stranger to self-promotion. He has held jobs in sales and even owns his own promotion, Reign Fighting Championships. He knows the importance of selling fights.
While some fighters shy away from media, Marunde has a YouTube channel with extensive footage of prior fights and other videos that range from promoting the cards he is on to footage after the fights that can be found here.
That ability to sell himself led to Shelby calling him and offering him the fight. He enthusiastically agreed.
Marunde was honest about what his plan against an accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter such as Souza who has submitted 11 opponents in 14 victories. Even if he had been given more time to prepare for the fight, his strategy would be the same.
"He's very strong on the ground. He has a pretty straightforward game. My game plan is to stand up with him, I don't need to fight his fight. I'm going to stuff his takedowns and attack him", Marunde mentioned to Bleacher Report. "Why would you fight somebody in their strengths?"
Marunde didn't eliminate the possibility of taking Souza down later in the rounds, but that it wasn't his first choice.
Marunde realizes that Shelby, his friends and his family are anticipating an amazing fight on Saturday and he doesn't plan on disappointing anyone.
"I'm starting out at the top, which is cool. He (Shelby) is expecting a huge fight from me," Marunde mentioned.
Marunde knows what he is walking into and if he can put on the match he hopes to Saturday night, he just might find himself staying at the top for some time.