Joey Beltran's exciting style and never-say-die attitude have made him a fan favorite in the UFC.
However, following a January decision loss to Pat Barry, "The Mexicutioner" realizes he's in a must-win situation come this Saturday at UFC 131 in Vancouver.
Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) faces Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Aaron Rosa (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in preliminary-card action, and the Mexican heavyweight knows he'll leave it all on the line to entertain his friends, family and fans. It's what he's paid to do.
"That's what I'm all about," Beltran recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "That's why I'm in the UFC â€“ to put my fist on people's chins. That's the only reason why I was able to stay. Usually after two-straight losses, people get the cut. The way that I fight, I was granted another chance, and there's no way I'm losing."
Beltran opened his UFC career with wins over Rolles Gracie and Tim Hague, but he followed them with decision losses to Matt Mitrione and Barry.
His next chance comes against Rosa, who is riding a four-fight win streak and will be making his UFC debut at Saturday's show, which takes place at Rogers Arena. But once both men step inside the octagon, Rosa will be far from a newcomer to Beltran.
"I've known about Aaron Rosa for quite a while," Beltran said. "I'm just a huge MMA fan, and (with) Aaron Rosa being Mexican, I was a little bit of a fan of his. I probably still will be after this fight, and I'll probably have more respect for him after this fight.
"You see another Mexican guy out there, and you want to cheer for him. I remember the first fight I ever saw of his was Jared Hamman. So I've known about him for quite a while, and I know his style. He's well-rounded, and I expect a really tough fight."
In preparation for Rosa, Beltran has spent training time with the likes of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Phil Davis and Travis Browne at Alliance Training Center in California.
Each of the training partners has played key roles in Beltran's progression as an MMA fighter. The ride has been outstanding.
"At the end of the day, all the fans, all the interviews â€“ it's all been really fun," he said. "But, at the end of the day, it's two guys locked in a cage, and you better be ready to handle business. I've always tried to take care of myself during camp and make sure that my cardio is there and everything is there so that when I fight on Saturday night, I just have to fight.
"It's been a great ride and especially to be able to do it with all my friends, Phil, Travis and Dominick. It's a very unique situation we have at Alliance MMA. Your teammates definitely lift you and help you get through those sessions."
For Beltran, he'll be fighting for much more than himself. He's a family-oriented fighter, and giving anything less than his best in front of his family and teammates simply isn't an option.
"I don't want to be embarrassed in front of my mom," Beltran said. "My mom's over there watching, and no one wants to lose a fight in front of their momma. (Whether on) TV or being there, eventually my mom's going to see this, and if I lose, I better go out like a gangster because I know I'm going to be made fun of when I get home.
"In all seriousness, my family, all my friends, all my students, and everybody that's involved in my life â€“ I just feel like me getting to the UFC and having success in the UFC has been such a team effort. I could've never done this alone, and every time I go in there and fight, I feel like I'm fighting with everyone's heart and soul put into my fist, and that's how I carry on."
Article by: MMAJunkie.com