Cote: I’m Going to Shock the World

By Mike Harris Oct 22, 2008
Many an MMA underdog boldly promises to “shock the world” by besting his or her heavily favored opponent.

Most wind up shocked themselves, knocked flat on their backs or tapping out before they black out care of, say, a deeply sunk rear-naked choke.

A few, such as Rashad Evans and Matt Serra, actually make good on their brash predictions with devastating Rocky-like victories over, respectively, Chuck Liddell and Georges St. Pierre.

Now comes Patrick “The Predator” Cote (13-4-0), the latest underdog -- actually, make that huge underdog -- to promise to “shock the world” by beating UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva (22-4-0), the dangerously explosive muay Thai striker considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter on the planet.

The two meet Saturday in a championship bout at UFC 90 in Rosemont, Ill.

“I’m very excited for this fight and I know there are a lot of people who are behind me and there are a lot of people who don’t think that I have a chance,” the heavy-handed Cote, 28, a KO artist in his own right, said in his thick French-Canadian accent.

“Anderson Silva is an incredible fighter. But nobody is unbeatable. He has been beat before and that can happen again. We found some little holes in his game that we’re going to exploit, and we know how to beat him. So I’m going in there and I’m going to do my stuff and shock the world.

“All my friends will put money on me, so they will be a lot richer after the fight,” he added with a laugh.

One of Cote’s two main trainers, the much-in-demand muay Thai specialist Mark DellaGrotte, conceded that the Brazilian Silva, 33, has few weaknesses.

“But there are some,” DellaGrotte said. “I think Anderson knows that he has weaknesses. And we’ve been looking. He has losses on his record and we’re looking to add to that with all due respect.”

Pressed to name one of the holes in Silva’s all-but flawless game, DellaGrotte said, “His chin doesn’t tuck as much as it should and it hasn’t been tested, you know? Nobody’s ever hit Anderson clean cause he can move well.”

Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

Game planning for Anderson
Silva is no easy task.
Cote said that not only is his underdog status a big motivator, but so is the fact that the Silva bout, his first-ever UFC title shot, is the biggest fight of his career.

“For sure. You know I do this sport to be No. 1. I just don’t want to go there and fight and give a good show for the crowd. I want to do that. But I want to win too and be world champion,” said Cote, who has held belts earlier in his career in smaller Canadian MMA promotions such as TKO, Maximum Fighting Championships and King of the Cage Canada.

DellaGrotte said that while Cote is always motivated for fights, “Patrick is really motivated for this fight. This is his biggest test and I think he realizes that.

“As far as pressure goes, he’s one of the few fighters who handles pressure really, really well. Anderson’s mental game has played a huge role on his past opponents. He’s very strong mentally and seems to out-will everybody else, even before the fight. But Patrick is not the type that gets shaken up quick. He knows what he’s in for. But he knows (Silva is) a man. He knows he’s beatable.”

And thus Cote’s heavy underdog status (some oddsmakers have Silva –800, Cote +550) “pisses him off, to tell you the truth. That’s one thing he’s been saying all the time, ‘Man, everybody thinks this guy is going to beat me. ‘Man, I’m going to Matt Serra him,’” said the Boston-accented DellaGrotte in an imitation of Cote that was executed in a spot-on French-Canadian accent.

Cote said his heavy training for the fight -- at Dellagrotte’s Sityodtong USA in Somerville, Mass., outside Boston; Fabio Holanda’s Brazilian Top Team Canada in Montreal; Howard Grant’s Boxing Gym, also in Montreal; and with the Canadian National Wrestling Team -- is already over so as to give his body time to recuperate and be in peak condition for the fight.

“Right now, my big training, all the crazy stuff, is already done,” Cote said. “I’m in really good shape. I’m faster, leaner and stronger than I have ever been before. I’m just anxious for the fight. I can’t wait now.”

DellaGrotte said Cote is in the “cruise control” phase of his training now.

“He’s got cardio for days,” he said. “He’s implementing all types of different aspects of his game: punching, grappling, striking. Everything’s coming together really, really well for him. He’s never looked better.”

As for his game plan, Cote noted that his standup banging style is no secret.

“I think (Silva) will try to prove to everybody that he can knock me out, but that’s not gonna happen,” Cote said. “We have a really, really, really good game plan and great strategy for this fight. But I’m gonna keep a little part of that to myself.”

DellaGrotte shed a little more light, saying Cote isn’t planning to make the fight a highly technical muay Thai bout.

“Because that is what Anderson does,” he said. “You’ve got to make it an ugly fight. The game plan is just to go for it. (Silva’s) good everywhere and we know that. The guy’s a superstar. He’s a stud. So making a game plan for a guy like that involves everything.

“Cote’s not going to be as conservative as you’ve seen him in some of his last fights. I think he has a kitchen sink in his back pocket that he wants to throw during the fight,” DellaGrotte added with a laugh.

So, considering that Cote has never been knocked out but has been submitted twice (by Joe Doerksen and Travis Lutter), is it a safe assumption that he wants to keep the fight standing up?

Not necessarily.

“I’ve improved a lot of my defense on the ground, and my ground-and-pound game is very, very good right now, so wherever the fight will go, I’ll fight,” Cote said. “I train for everything and if I go on the ground, I’m very comfortable there.”

Cote said his No. 1 strength is his mind.

“Even with a rough start in the UFC, I’ve always believed in myself and I came back strong and right now I have a UFC title fight,” said Cote, who had lost his first four UFC bouts starting in 2004, the year he became a full-time fighter upon leaving the Canadian Army. “And the other thing is, I’m not intimidated by Anderson Silva. I respect him a lot, but you know, he’s a man made out of flesh and bone like me, so I ain’t scared of him at all.

“I just have to execute our game plan the day of the fight. It’s going to be a very hard fight, but we’re very confident that we are going to win. I will knock him out. He’s the best fighter in the world, so it’s going to be very good to be world champion and to have a win against the best fighter in the world at the same time.”
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