After hearing about a rash of injuries at light-heavyweight, Eliot Marshall didn't wait for the UFC to call him. He got in touch with them.
When Karlos Vemola went down, Marshall had his people contact the UFC. Apparently, the UFC liked the idea and Marshall will now face Luiz Cane on three weeks notice this Saturday on the Spike TV portion of the UFC 128 broadcast.
"I was like, 'Man, they're gonna need somebody from outside the organization to step in here and take this fight,'" Marshall said last week on Bloody Elbow Radio. "So I contacted my management and was like, 'Guys, right now, go call. Not in 10 minutes. Right now.'"
Marshall's been outside of the UFC for nearly a year since his split decision loss to Vladimir Matyushenko at the first UFC on Versus show. It was his first loss inside the Octagon, dropping him to 3-1, but he still was let go. Marshall said the UFC told him to be more aggressive and to not fight with as much caution. Three wins later, he's back and feels he's taken that advice to heart.
"No one wants to fight in the minor leagues," Marshall said. "Everyone wants to fight in the big leagues. I listened to what they said and I feel I gradually got better throughout my three fights."
Marshall is adamant about not fighting in the smaller shows again. So much so that he says he's going to retire from professional fighting whenever this UFC run is over.
"If I lose this fight and that's it, that's fine," Marshall said. "My life will just go in a different direction. This is it. However long I'm in the UFC is how long I'm fighting for. I'm 100 percent OK with that. That's just the decision I've made and I'm at peace with it. I'm at peace with the worst possible outcome that can happen March 19. Man, it's so rare that the worst possible thing ever happens. It can only be better than that. I can't control whether they're going to get rid of me or not get rid of me, or whether Dana (White) and Joe Silva like me. I wish they loved me, but I can't control it. I'll just deal with my fight and go on from there."
Marshall said he came to this decision because he's "30 years old and not a moron." He said he can do a lot of things with his life and if he can't be the champion, then it's time to do something else. When that time comes for him to exit the UFC, Marshall plans on having a jiu-jitsu school.
"That's what I've wanted to do my whole life, since I was 10 years old, is have a martial arts school," Marshall said. "Whenever it's done, I'm going to be honest with you, I hope it's in 30 fights. I hope 30 fights down the road I'm a gazillionaire with 10 UFC belts, but whenever that wave breaks is when it's gonna break and I'm OK with it. I'm really OK with it. I'm gonna whoop Cane's ass but I'm OK with whatever happens."
After being in high-pressure situations fighting in the smaller shows, where he couldn't lose if he wanted to make it back, Marshall said he feels no pressure for his UFC return.
"As far as the pressure goes, right now I feel zero pressure," Marshall said. "Absolutely none. I feel great. Whatever happens, happens. The worst thing has already happened to me. I already know what it's like to get cut and all that nonsense. The sun still comes up the next day. What are you going to do? Go out and have some fun."
You can hear the entire interview with Marshall, plus an interview with Strikeforce lightweight Lyle Beerbohm, by listening to last Thursday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio. Bloody Elbow Radio, presented by Bad Boy, returns at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday with UFC 128's Eddie Wineland, plus more talk of the UFC/Strikeforce deal.