Country pride is strong with Brad Pickett and he's going into Saturday night's bout against Yves Jabouin with something to prove. The last time "One Punch" fought in his home country, he suffered a first round submission defeat to future interim champion Renan Barao. Despite the bout not making it into the second frame, it was an action-packed affair as both men walked away with "Fight of the Night" honors.
The bonus was nice for his bank account, but the loss in Birmingham left Pickett eager to redeem himself in front of his fellow countrymen. He will have the perfect opportunity to do just that when he squares off with Jabouin at UFC on Fuel TV 5 tomorrow night.
"I have mixed emotions about fighting back in England," Pickett told Bleacher Report. "Personally, I will fight anywhere in the world. It doesn't matter where I fight but it is nice to fight in front of your home crowd and being back on your home soil. Obviously the last time I fought here things didn't go according to plan. But I'm looking to mend that in this fight with Jabouin and get my first UFC win on my home soil."
Throughout his career Pickett has earned a reputation as being an exciting fighter. The 34-year-old is known for bringing the heat from the opening bell and being willing to mix it up no matter where the action takes place. With forward pressure, Pickett consistently sets the type of pace that guarantees a healthy scrap.
Jabouin is cut from the same cloth. "The Tiger" has been known to exchange leather no matter the cost as he works behind a sharp striking skill set. This bout has the potential to rack up another fight night bonus for both fighters and Pickett is looking forward to the throw down.
"I think it's a great matchup stylistically," Pickett said. "We are both strikers who are well rounded at the same time. He's more of a kick boxer where I'm more of a boxer. I think it honestly paves the way for an exciting and entertaining fight. Of course the potential for another 'Fight of the Night' is there but it takes two to tango.
"I'm going out there, taking the fight to him, and we'll see what he wants to do. I'm going to put the pressure on him and come out there in typical Brad Pickett style. I'm going to absorb some punishment and dish some out. I want to get the job done in whatever way I can. It's just the way I am. I'm coming out to win the fight in the first minute. I always like to push the pace and come forward. If we get the bonus -- brilliant. If not, then hopefully I will come away with the win because winning means more to me than anything else does."
The fight between Pickett and Jabouin comes at an interesting time in the UFC bantamweight division. Champion Dominick Cruz has been sidelined since May and doesn't appear to be returning any time in the near future. In his absence the UFC instituted an interim title which was claimed by rising Brazilian star Renan Barao.
The situation atop the division has left plenty of room for the other fighters in the weight class to fast track their way to contender status. While Pickett can see the window of opportunity is open, he is not quite ready to look too far into the future.
"Honestly the division is a little bit open at the moment," Pickett said. "Cruz has been out for a long time and Barao now holds the interim belt. A lot of it is in Barao's hands because he may want to defend his interim belt or hold out for Cruz. I've had knee injuries before. Sometimes you think you are coming back and re-tweak it. Those things happen and you never know how long Cruz is going to be out for. At the same time you can only be on the shelf for so long.
"Personally I'm not really looking too far ahead right at this moment. I'll obviously look at things with a lot more detail after Saturday. If I win it will look one way but if I lose it will obviously look differently for me."