With 48 professional mixed martial arts fights under his belt, Joe Doerksen knows what it takes to step into a cage across from a guy who wants to beat him up.
The 29-year-old fighter from Winnipeg, Manitoba has also been around long enough to realize his upcoming bout against Paulo Filho is more than an ordinary contest, as the pair will fight in Las Vegas this Sunday to see who gets to wear the vacant WEC middleweight championship belt.
Doerksen told Sherdog.com that he's very aware of Filho's strong ground game but that he's not overly concerned.
"I'm comfortable on the ground," he claimed. "I don't think he's going to be that good on the ground that he's going to be able to submit me. I've always been a ground guy, and a good one in my opinion."
He added that it's standing up where he sees himself as having a physical advantage, and he spent 10 days in Utah at Jeremy Horn's camp to make sure that he had everything ironed out.
"I don't think there are any secrets; he knows what I want to do, and I know what he wants to do," Doerksen allowed.
The veteran fighter is one who seems to have been around forever. He had his fist MMA match when he was 22, and has some impressive wins on his scorecard, including those over Lee Murray, John Alessio, Denis Kang, and Chris Leben.
And although his 39 wins are impressive, so far in his career it's been his losses that have defined him. Doerksen freely admitted that when it came to the big fights -- such as those against Matt Lindland and Nathan Marquardt -- he was lacking something.
"I think I've always had the skill and experience, but I've often gone into big fights kind of on the fence about whether or not I want to be there or whether or not I belong there," he said.
So how does Doerksen see himself differently now?
"I just think that right now my confidence is rising up to a level it's never been at before," he started. "I really feel like I've matured as a person and as a fighter. I just feel more like I belong. I want to fight Top 10 guys. I don't want to go in there and do well; I want to beat them. I'm 29 years old and I've had 48 fights, now is the time to go and make my mark."
This weekend live on Versus we'll see if he can make that mark with authority.
Anacondas hope to continue roll
The Canadian Anacon oops, I mean the Los Angeles Anacondas should be riding a wave of confidence as they head into Thursday's IFL semifinal match with Pat Miletich's Quad Cities Silverbacks.
Seeded No. 1 in the league having not dropped a team match all season, Los Angles has had the misfortune of losing two regulars in Chris Horodecki and Jay Hieron, both out due to injuries.
The Anacondas aren't rushing about in a panic quite yet though as head coach Shawn Tompkins has acquired the services of two fighters he thinks will fit in quite nicely. Replacing the lightweight Horodecki will be former OSU collegiate wrestler Adam DiSabato, and replacing Hieron will be Chris Clements a member of Tompkins' London, Ontario based Team Tompkins.
So the match-ups will be the Anacondas' Adam DiSabato, Chris Clements, Benjii Radach, Alex Schoenauer, and finally Krzysztof Soszynski, against the Silverbacks' Bart Palaszewski, Rory Markham, Gerald Harris, Mike Ciesnolevicz, and Ben Rothwell respectively.
Although a newcomer to the IFL, Clements brings a four-fight win streak with him from Canada where he last beat David Medd at TKO 28 in February. Since then he endured the rigorous screening process put on by the UFC to find the newest cast of The Ultimate Fighter.
Tompkins told MM-Eh! that Clements was the very last fighter cut in the process, so look for him to come in with something to prove. Next up for him after the IFL is a Sept. 30 meeting with Sean Pierson at TKO 30 for the welterweight belt previously held by Georges St. Pierre.
Soszynski faces the daunting task of rematching Big Ben, who sports an 11-fight winning streak that already contains a victory over the Canadian from 2006. Soszynski is no slouch himself, as he has won five out of seven since then, and Tompkins claims that he is the IFL's most improved fighter.
Should the Anacondas make it past the Silverbacks, they can look forward to meeting the winner of the evening's other team match-up between Renzo Gracie's New York Pitbulls and Ken Yasuda's Tokyo Sabres.
UCW Announces September Card
As if his duties to the IFL don't keep him busy enough, Krzysztof Soszynski is already knee deep in preparation for his next Ultimate Cage Wars event that he co-promotes in Winnipeg.
"September to Remember" will feature:
Lindsey Hawkes vs. Kevin Manderson
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Daniel Grandmaison
Steve Taylor vs. Justin Doyon
Jordan Mein vs. Garret Vernoy
Aaron Basso vs. Dave De Lorenzi
Ryan Brigham vs. Andre Burkovsky
Markhalie Wedderburn vs. Jamie MacDonald
Andy Cotterill covers mixed martial arts for Sherdog.com.