Stay hungry, handlers say

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Joe Doerksen's handlers took away his video games, and they took away his beer.

"He's like a caged animal," trainer Giuseppe DeNatale said. "We lock him in his apartment at 10 o'clock. Eat, sleep, train. Eat, sleep, train. That's his life. It's just like being in jail."

If they're trying to make Doerksen mad for his UFC 83 fight against Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald next weekend in Montreal, it's working.

"I'm tired of training," he said earlier this week at his training headquarters, Team Canada MMA on Wardlaw Avenue. "I just want to go fight. It's game time. Let's do it."

Doerksen's clash with MacDonald is one of six fights on the undercard next Saturday at Bell Centre, which marks the UFC's first stop in Canada.

If the bout is entertaining enough, it will be added to the five-fight pay-per-view broadcast.

Doerksen, a 30-year-old from New Bothwell, would love to make it on the big ticket, but he is concerned mostly about winning. A victory would be a good thing, DeNatale said.

"He's come a long way, and now it's his time," DeNatale said. "It's the biggest UFC show ever -- 22,000 tickets at the Bell Centre -- and when Joe does good, he beats Jason MacDonald, he's maybe two fights, three fights away from a shot at the middleweight title."

Short notice

Doerksen has fought on five UFC cards since 2004, and his record is 1-4. Three of the bouts, however, he took on short notice, including his knockout loss to Ed Herman at UFC 78 in November. He accepted that scrap two weeks before it happened.

That's not the case this time. The man they call El Dirte has been working out with DeNatale and fellow UFC fighter Jeremy Horn for 10 weeks to prepare for MacDonald.

"He's going to win," Horn said matter-of-factly. "He's definitely the better fighter.

"Joe's biggest weakness is sometimes his lack of confidence in himself. He's one of the best guys that I've ever trained with. He's way better than MacDonald in everything."

Doerksen also has some payback to administer.

MacDonald, who hails from Edmonton, beat Doerksen in front of his family and friends on an Ultimate Cage Wars card at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in October 2005.

"I got cut very early on in the first round, and it helped him a lot," Doerksen said. "I think it had a huge impact on the fight. He doesn't. He thinks that he would've won anyway. Now we get to find out whether or not that was true."

DeNatale, who was in Doerksen's corner that night, took the loss to MacDonald personally. If you don't believe him, just listen to his plan for next Saturday night.

"We won't be looking to submit," DeNatale said. "We'll be looking to punish. I want Joe to make Jason want to quit."


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