TSC Interviews: "The Ultimate Fighter" 8 Winner Efrain Escudero
From December 13, 2008 to September 15, 2010, Efrain Escudero had it all.
He earned a prestigious contract from winning season eight of SPIKE TV's hit show "The Ultimate Fighter." He was fighting for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the top mixed martial arts promotion in the world. And for nearly two years, he was put in a position to be the premiere Mexican-American combat sports athlete.
Unfortunately for Escudero, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez holds that crown Escudero could have had. Even more unfortunate was after Sept 15, 2010. It was the night he lost via third-round submission to lightweight prospect Charles Oliveira.
From that point on, Escudero could no longer call the UFC his MMA home. In a blink of an eye, those guaranteed paydays and worldwide exposure were gone.
Going a respectable 3-2 in the UFC wasn't the issue according to UFC President Dana White though. It was Escudero's attitude.
"I think Efrain got comfortable," White said following Escudero's final UFC appearance on the "Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares" card. When asked if Escudero's release had anything to do with him being three pounds over the 155lb limit for the Oliveira fight, White acknowledged that may have been the last straw.
While Escudero could have faded into MMA obscurity as the only man to be cut from the UFC after winning "The Ultimate Fighter" besides Travis Lutter, he has continued fighting and showing fans why he became a star in the first place.
After reevaluating his career and getting back on track with a three-fight win streak, Escudero looks to make it four in a row since leaving the UFC this Friday night.
Escudero spoke to The Sports Courier about life after the UFC, going back to school, and what's in store for his next fight.
- Fast facts about Efrain Escudero:
- Season 8 Winner of "The Ultimate Fighter"
- Notable wins over Dan Lauzon, Phillipe Nover, and Cole Miller
- Professional MMA record 16-2
When you were cut by the UFC, did it teach you not to take your MMA career for granted, given how fast it can be taken away from you?
Yeah, I definitely think so. I don't think I'm as bad as I've been portrayed, but at the end of the day, I worked for the UFC and the only person besides the fans I have to impress is Dana White. Getting cut has made me a lot more appreciative of every opportunity I get. I think what really did me in was the bad weight cut before my fight with Oliveira. But I'm a fighter. I don't make excuses.
I just go back to work and fight my way back to the UFC.
It was reported you've also been going back to school?