Patrick Cote is 5-2 in his latest UFC run. | Photo: Josh Schaefer/Sherdog.com
When Hector Lombard called out Patrick Cote following a win over Jake Shields at UFC 171, the man known as “The Predator” was more than a little perplexed.
At the time, Cote had only recently moved to welterweight and was about a month away from earning his second 170-pound victory over Kyle Noke at “The Ultimate Fighter: Nations” finale. Lombard was already an established contender in the division.
“The thing is, a year ago, he called me out for absolutely nothing,” Cote recalled at the UFC Fight Night press conference in Saskatoon. “That was my second fight at 170. I don’t know, he didn’t have any fight. I don’t know if he needed money or something like that, but he called me [out] for no reason. This fight at this time, it didn’t make any sense for me and especially for him. He was in the top five or top six and I wasn’t even in the top 15.”
Fast-forward to the present day, and Cote’s attitude -- and standing -- has changed. On Sunday, he garnered his first UFC knockout victory since 2008, finishing Josh Burkman with a right hand and follow-up ground-and-pound 1:26 into the third frame of their featured bout, the first knockout defeat of Burkman’s 40-bout professional tenure.
“We have a ton of respect for each other, but at the same time we are there to fight and give a good show and that’s what we did,” Cote said. “Like I said, I have a ton of respect for Josh, but I’m happy that I’m the first one to knock him out in his career for sure.”
The back-and-forth slugfest earned “Fight of the Night” honors and more importantly, established Cote as a person of interest in the division. The 35-year-old has won four of five fights at welterweight and now feels like it’s time to take a step up in competition.
In Cote’s mind, Lombard fits the bill. He will have to wait for the former Bellator champ to be eligible to fight, however. Lombard was suspended for one year following a positive steroid test at UFC 182, and his suspension will not end until Jan. 3, 2016. That seems to just fine with Cote.
“I’m getting closer to the top 15, maybe I’m gonna be there after tonight -- we’ll see,” he said. “This fight [with Lombard] makes sense now. He’s gonna come back in January. I can say tonight I’m ready to accept this challenge for sure.”