Fighters grow a little with every victory -- and a lot with each loss.
It happened to Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn and Brock Lesnar. Jason "Dooms" Day of Lethbridge, Alta., is no different.
An unexpected victory over David "The Crow" Loiseau earned Day a call to the UFC for the fight club's first Canadian show in Montreal last April.
Written off by most pundits as fodder for the more experienced Alan Belcher at UFC 83, Day displayed a textbook rubber guard en route to a first-round TKO.
Day's confidence grew and he called for Michael "The Count" Bisping to be his next opponent. But things didn't go according to plan for the seasoned Canadian scrapper, who fell to the Brit in the first round at UFC 85 last June in England.
"After Bisping, I looked at my training, looked at my lifestyle and then looked where I wanted to go in the sport," Day says from Indiana, where he is training for his March 7 fight against The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall "Spyder" Grove at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio.
"It was obvious if I wanted to make a career out of this, I had to start training full-time and live the life of a full-time fighter. I quit my construction job and moved to Calgary, where I had access to a wider range of training. Now I eat, breathe and sleep fighting. It is my job now, my career. I need to win to eat, to live."
Day (17-7) is a more seasoned fighter than the lanky 6-foot-6 Grove (9-5-0). But the Hawaiian has a healthy reach advantage over the 6-foot Day.
WON'T GET OUT ON A LIMB
"I think if you let the length of his limbs pose a problem, then yes, they become an issue," says Day.
"But the way I fight, I don't think that reach will matter much. He has shown that his long limbs have proved fatal for a few opponents, capturing them in triangles or chokes, but I don't plan on being in position to let him pose that threat on me."
Day says he has never been more ready for a fight, crediting his time with WEC bantamweight champ Miguel Torres.
"Miguel has a great mind for the game and has helped me put my game together. (Fellow Albertan) Jason MacDonald has been helping me train on weekends and is spending a week with me here in Indiana, as well."
If Day's master plan falls into place, he will one day face off against another Spider -- middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
"Kendall is my first test. I understand I have a mountain to climb before I can conquer the other spider," says Day.
"I am in no rush, I want to become the best fighter I can possibly be before I get my shot. My day will come."