UFC bantamweight Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres faces the biggest test of his career at UFC 175, taking on former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber in the night’s featured preliminary bout. The fight will give him the opportunity to establish himself as one of the best 135-pound fighters in the sport.
Faber has defeated half of the current Top 10 on the UFC.com rankings, and Caceres understands that some people may be looking past him. Caceres had this to say about his upcoming fight:
"I’m always being a little overlooked going into any fight. With my lifestyle choices, I’m a standout character. People know who I am, and they enjoy watching my fights, but I’m not a mainstream person. I’m not really out there for those kinds of reasons, for fame, glitz, glamour and glory. I simply enjoy performing these actions. Whether I’m in front of a crowd doing it, or if I’m in a hole-in-the-wall gym, it makes no difference to me, and I’m going to be happy doing it."
He doesn't concern himself with trying to hype his fights the way some other fighters do. He is simply here to ply his trade, and would rather communicate through his art, saying:
"You don’t see me that much out there promoting myself, and taking selfies and getting out there and saying ‘Hey, look at me, I’m the best.’ I don’t necessarily believe in all that. I’m a very simple person. I’m just a human being that does martial arts, and when I get in there I’ll do it to the best of my ability."
"It’s not a competition between me and the other person; if anything it’s just a competition with myself. I’m trying to beat myself to see if I’m better than who I am and see if I can achieve a higher level in this playing field."
“Bruce Leeroy” is known for his relaxed fighting style, and he is one of the more calm and complacent fighters when he’s on his way to the cage. He attributes that to his understanding of the true nature of a fight, saying:
"The way I look at it, there are only two people inside the cage, and somebody has to lose. I don’t think there is any shame in losing inside the UFC cage, inside that Octagon. Just getting there is a feat by itself. And then to beat someone who has trained for you, and is a top athlete—whoever wins is the better man that night and only that night. You always have a lifetime to get back into it and do it again, and transform yourself and get better. You can’t expect to win all the time. There are only two people in there, and one of them has to lose."
Caceres does not fight to appease the cageside judges. In fact, when he heard his cornermen saying that he had only 30 seconds left in the final round of his fight with Sergio Pettis, his initial thought was not that he needs to find a way to win; instead, it was that he only had 30 seconds left to do what he loves and that he better make the most of that time.
His entertaining style comes from his lack of fear or stress leading up to his fights. His goal is to achieve new heights through his martial arts skills, and being able to go in and compete and truly perform to his potential matters more than actually winning.
"I try to go in there with an empty mind and a full heart, so I don’t hesitate on the actions that I want to perform. I’m not going to hold back because I’m afraid of losing. I just want to do what I do and do it to the best of my abilities. I know with that attitude and that motivation, it will most likely lead me to victory, even though it’s not my main concern. It’s kind of like people who take life too seriously. You can’t get out alive, so you might as well just live."
Mike Wellman is a contributor for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.