Joe (El Dirte) Doerksen walked to the octagon with Bachman Turner Overdrive’s Takin’ Care of Business filling Montreal’s Bell Centre on Saturday night.
The crowd loved his choice of song and cheered wildly.
Then Doerksen took care of business.
The 32-year-old mixed martial artist from New Bothwell, Man., by way of Winnipeg, was an injury replacement to fight American Tom Lawlor on the UFC 113 card, which meant his chances of winning weren’t supposed to be good. Lawlor was a 4-1 favourite going into the tilt.
Apparently Doerksen wasn’t paying attention, though, because he stopped Lawlor in the second round with a rear naked choke, earning his second career UFC victory against five losses.
“For the next 30 seconds, I was in my own little world,” Doerksen said Sunday. “I was so happy to get a win there.”
Doerksen, in fact, was the only Canadian to win on home soil on Saturday night. More importantly, it basically guarantees he will fight again on the world’s top MMA circuit.
Winnipeg fight fans will get to see Doerksen when he headlines the CFC 5 card at the Convention Centre on June 4. Until then, he’s going to savour his win over Lawlor, which made it on to the pay-per-view broadcast because of its entertainment value.
“The best of me came out (Saturday) night, and I want to keep that going,” Doerksen said.
It wasn’t look good for the Manitoban in the first round, as Lawlor dropped him twice in the opening five minutes.
“I had a little bit of rough start, but it was just to get the fans into it,” Doerksen joked.
The veteran of nearly 60 MMA fights could sense, however, that Lawlor wasn’t the same guy in the second round.
“I hit him with body kicks in the first round, and it was starting to add up,” Doerksen said. “When he started throwing kicks back I knew he was desperate. When he tried to take me down, I knew it was time. He thought I was afraid of his standup. When he switched up his game plan, I knew he was in trouble.
“I thought, this is my chance. I went for the neck and got it. Craziness ensued after that.”
Doerksen admitted he had confidence problems when fighting on the UFC circuit in the past. He figures it was the small-town boy in him feeling like he didn’t belong with the big boys. He swept those thoughts aside on Saturday night, and it paid off.
“Sometimes I don’t believe I’m at the level they are,” he said. “I think I finally got past that last night. I said I was going to fight as if it was the same fight on a smaller show. It really seemed to work.”