You don't say no to the UFC

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

Krzysztof Soszynski got the call on Saturday night and didn't think twice about his answer.

Sure, he'd love to fight on the UFC 98 card in Las Vegas later this month -- coming on the heels of his victory on the UFC 97 card in Montreal on April 19.

"You don't say no to the UFC," the Winnipeg native said yesterday from his Team Quest training base in Temecula, Calif. "I've been waiting for this dream for six years, to make it to the UFC, and now I've got a chance to fight for the third time. It's a dream come true. If it was one week's notice I would've taken it, no matter what."

Soszynski is a last-minute injury replacement for Houston Alexander, who broke a hand while training for his light heavyweight fight with Andre Gusmao. Soszynski and Gusmao will tangle on the undercard of UFC 98, which will take place on May 23 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

If the scrap is entertaining enough, however, it could end up on the pay-per-view broadcast.

Soszynski said five weeks between fights is more than enough time.

"Absolutely. I had a 15-week camp for Brian Stann," he said. "After a fight I always take two weeks off. Basically it was pizza and ice cream every day. I really enjoyed myself, and my body recovered. I sustained a few injuries in my training camp with Brian Stann, but my body's good, 100% and ready to go.

"... (Trainer) Dan (Henderson) has been kicking my butt the last three days, and our coaches are fantastic. Today I was put through hell, absolute hell. I'm actually on the couch ready to fall asleep and get back at it again in the evening."

Soszynski used a kimura to take out Stann just 3:53 into their bout at Montreal's Bell Centre last month, which improved his UFC record to 2-0 and also got him a $70,000 bonus for submission of the night.

Gusmao, a 31-year-old Brazilian, has been a mixed martial artist for 16 years, but he has only six fights under his belt. His last tilt was actually his UFC debut last August in Minneapolis against Jon Jones. Gusmao suffered the first loss of his career that night at Target Center.

"He's looking to make it back and get a win," Soszynski said. "I'm going to not let that happen, basically. He might be a little rusty getting back in there, but he also might be really hungry as well."

Soszynski and Gusmao are familiar with one another, as they both fought in the International Fight League and even appeared on two cards together. Gusmao has a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and also teaches Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian art form that involves movements from martial arts, games, and dance.

"He likes to kick a lot," Soszynski said.

Soszynski studied jiu jitsu for three years early in his career, so he's not afraid to go to the ground with someone as accomplished as Gusmao.

"I'm not a black belt on the ground or anything like that, but I feel like I have enough skill to do good things against this guy on the ground," he said. "Wherever the fight goes, I have no problem."


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