The only Canadian in The Ultimate Fighter 3 reality show may not have won the six-figure contract, but he's going to the big leagues.
Kalib Starnes told Sun Media yesterday he has signed on with the Ultimate Fighting Championship for a three-fight-deal.
"I know I can compete with those guys," he said.
Starnes, 31, who entered the TUF 3 show as one of the favourites to win it all, saw his quest for the contract come to a painful end in a semi-final scrap against eventual middleweight contract winner Kendall Grove.
During the fight, Starnes suffered a devastating rib injury from a roundhouse kick that left him gasping for breath.
"For three months I couldn't even do a sit-up," says Starnes, who says he suffered a costochondral cartilage separation. He says the cartilage in his sternum cracked.
The fallout from the injury left him less-than-impressed with his coach Ken Shamrock.
"After the fight, he just dogged me," said Starnes.
"He didn't come to the hospital and he didn't talk to me after the fight."
At the TUF3 finale in Vegas last week, Starnes successfully disposed of the much-weaker and less experienced Danny Abbadi with a rear-naked choke halfway through the first round.
"They gave me Danny Abbadi because (fellow TUF3 middleweight) Rory Singer didn't want to fight me," says Starnes.
"I don't know why?"
Starnes says he's ready for some more serious challengers as he works his way through the middleweight ranks.
"I'll fight whoever they put in front of me," says Starnes.
"But I want to have better fights."
For more on Kalib Starnes and the UFC, check out the Scrapyard Blog at www.calgarysun.com