Quebec MMA Fans Hold Soft Spot for Patrick Cote

Quebec MMA Fans Hold Soft Spot for Patrick Cote, whose UFC story has been one of survival

By: Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

QUEBEC CITY, Que. – Georges St-Pierre may be the king of MMA in Quebec but Patrick (The Predator) Cote is also UFC royalty in La Belle Province.

The 34-year-old welterweight, in his 10th year in the UFC, will walk into the cage for the 15th time Wednesday night when he takes on Australian Kyle Noke in a battle of rival coaches from “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” reality TV show.

England’s Michael Bisping, ranked No. 5 among middleweight contenders, faces No. 8 Tim Kennedy in the main event at the Colisee Pepsi.

Cote, wearing a Quebec Nordiques cap, received rapturous applause at a public workout Sunday at a Quebec City mall.

The five-foot-11 Cote — a native of Rimouski who now lives outside of Montreal — has remade himself into a welterweight, studying nutrition himself to ease the weight cut from 205-210 pounds to 170 pounds.

Clearly comfortable in his own skin these days, he credits the people around him for easing his path. He used to work with just a trainer — now he has a team that includes a sports psychiatrist and nutritionist.

“I don’t do anything by myself now,” he said. “I have a specialist in everything. Right now it’s easier for me to train. I just follow what they tell me to do.”

Cote (20-8 including 6-8 in the UFC) showed off his flexibility at the workout, bending a leg up like a figure skater.

“I feel awesome,” said Cote, who spent three weeks in Thailand during his training camp. “For this fight, I feel I have no worries. I have a free mind. I’m not nervous at all. I’m just going there to do my thing.”

For Tom Wright, managing director for UFC operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Cote showed his leadership skills during the six-week taping of the TV show. They already knew he was popular.

“Pat was chosen because we also know he has a very strong following here … And he’s been our go-to person on broadcasts.”

While Cote has been in and out of the UFC as a fighter, he has been ever-present as the organization’s French-language commentator. He also is an MMA and boxing analyst on the TVA network.

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