Sometimes it takes fighters longer than others to get to the UFC. Unlike his opponent at UFC 149, Matt Riddle, who's fought his whole career in the UFC, it took Chris Clements seven years to get into the UFC.
Clements (11-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) looks to continue his run in the UFC as he takes on Matt Riddle (6-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) to kick off the main card at UFC 149 on Saturday night.
It was a long, grinding road for Clements to get into the UFC. He made his debut at UFC 145 in April with a unanimous decision victory over Keith Wisniewski.
Clements holds the world record for the quickest knockout in MMA history when he knocked out Lautaro Tucas in three seconds in May of 2006. He attributes that to part of the reason why it took him so long to get to the biggest stage in MMA.
"A lot of it I think has to do with that world record," Clements told Bleacher Report. "I think after I came onto the scene, I knock a guy out in three seconds.
"It was really hard for me to get fights. Especially from where I come from in Ontario, it was illegal for MMA and it's not feasible. No one who sucks is gonna fight me after I just knocked a guy out in three seconds.
"So in order for a promoter to get somebody to fight me, that person is gonna have to be a higher-ranked guy, and they would have to pay him a lot more money to come. I'm not a local guy, either, so now they're spending money on two guys who can't sell tickets.
"It took me a long time to build up a record because I couldn't get a fight. If I did get a fight, I would have to fight a bigger guy and it was usually last-minute."
UFC 149 has gone through a lot of changes to the card. Clements was added to the card at the beginning of June to replace Thiago Alves and face Siyar Bahadurzada.
Then, Bahadurzada had to bow out at the beginning of this month, and Riddle stepped in. Clements feels Bahadurzada would have gotten up the title ladder much quicker, but feels Riddle has more game.
"They're both great opponents for me," Clements stated. "I think Siyar is a standup fighter. He's around my height, he's right handed, we both have a lot of power. But, he was more of a building guy. He was the guy that would launch me way up in the rankings.
"At the same time, I'm not one of those guys that's trying to go up in the rankings. I just want to go in there and have fun. Put on exciting fights and more people want to watch me fight.
"Matt Riddle is a great guy for that at the same time as well. Stylistically, I think me and Siyar would have been an easy fight to figure out. Where Matt has a little bit more game, but Matt is not great at anything. He's more well-rounded, but he's not a superior striker like Siyar is. He is more well-rounded and you don't know what he's gonna do."
Clements respects everything that Riddle has in done in the cage, but he is ready to take a beating in order for him to give Riddle one and secure a victory in his home country.
"I like Matt as a fighter," Clements stated. "He's a good character and he keeps a smile on his face. He seems to enjoy being in there, kind of like myself. He comes to fight, the same as I do.
"I think he is a great opponent, especially since I'm expecting a big bonus at the end of the night against a guy like him. He can go out there, give it to him and he's gonna keep trying to come back and get more. He's good at taking beatings and I'm good at giving beatings."
UFC 149 takes place on Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Clements vs. Riddle fight is on the main card, and you can see it live only on pay-per view starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
You can listen to the entire interview with Chris Clements here.
You can also follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.