At first glance when looking at John Albert's recent record, there's a hard fact to ignore: He enters his fight at UFC on Fox 8 coming off of three straight losses.
Now for most fighters this might signal a change in attitude or demeanor when approaching their next bout. Some fighters readily admit that when faced with the prospect of multiple losses in a row they change their style to assure themselves victory in the face of defeat.
The philosophy in the MMA world is known as "fighting not to lose," which many times ends up in a rather boring contest.
Albert just isn't built that way, and he follows the UFC's decree that the fighters who put on a show will always have a home inside the Octagon.
"That's what they say over, and over and over again—bring the fight," Albert told Bleacher Report. "They've shown it, too, because if you look at that list of fighters being cut, they were planning on doing 100 cuts by the end of this year, and I'm never on that list because they appreciate guys that come to fight."
Albert's three losses in a row also don't tell the whole story on his performances. His fight against Erik Perez was stopped early when referee Kim Winslow halted the bout during a submission despite Albert never actually giving up. The UFC agreed and even paid him his win bonus for the fight.
His other two losses were back-and-forth wars, one of which earned him Fight of the Night honors for his battle against Scott Jorgensen at UFC on Fox 5 last December.
The way Albert sees things, he would rather go out and put on a show for the fans and walk away with a defeat than put on a boring performance to the point where no one wants to see him fight again.
"That's just not who I am as a person. I'm in this sport because I love to fight, and the fans are really the people who are the reason I do what I do," Albert said. "The fans are the ones watching and appreciating and bringing me back, so I do what I can to give them the show."
The three fighters who beat Albert all have a reputation in MMA.
Ivan Menjivar has been around the sport for many years and is one of the most respected veterans in MMA. Jorgensen is a former title contender in the WEC, while Perez is looked at as one of the top prospects in the sport.
This time around, Albert didn't get a top-10 opponent or a veteran. He drew second-time UFC fighter Yaotzin Meza, and Albert is more than happy to give him a rude welcome similar to the one he received in his debut, when he was flattened by Chad Mendes in less than two minutes.
"I think my style gives anybody problems," Albert said about the matchup. "That's how I like to fight. I'd rather go out with a bang than win a poor decision. I definitely think it will work in my favor, and I'm going to try to finish it. He has been known to be a decision-grinder. If I can't put him away in the first couple of rounds I might have a little bit of trouble in the third, but that's just my fighting style. It's real hard for people to deal with me when they go that hard."
Albert isn't approaching this fight with a different mentality knowing that a fourth loss in a row could possibly signal the end of his UFC career. He's actually looking at this as a chance to make a statement against Meza so he can get back in the cage with the top 10 fighters in his division.
"I don't mentally prepare for a fight like, this guy isn't in the top 10 like my past opponents so I'm going to go out there and smash him," Albert said. "I always prepare like he's the most dangerous guy I could face. But I do think I can use it to show that my last two losses were literally against top-10 fighters in the world, that I deserve to stay and compete against the best in the world. So I can definitely use this fight to say that.
"There's no hesitation or nervousness when Sean Shelby (UFC matchmaker) called me and said 'Do you want to fight this guy, do you want to fight that guy?' I'm just like, these guys are tough, of course I want to fight them!"
Albert's "go big or go home" style hasn't yielded him wins in his last few fights, but he's made a memorable impression with each performance. Albert knows what he's capable of doing, and he plans on making an example out of Meza on Saturday night to prove it.
"I feel like I do that with all of my opponents, I overwhelm them. Not like I'm going out there like a brute, I'm throwing clean shots and clean submissions, and I think that will kind of frazzle him," Albert commented. "When I look at his fights before the UFC, he was the guy that would kind of press forward. I'm that guy that will stand my ground and he's not going to push me back.
"I don't think my style's very good for him."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.