There's probably something to be said for having your back against the wall, and knowing it.
That's the position Keith Wisniewski finds himself in when he returns to action today for the first time in more than 16 months. The Hobart-based welterweight fights at UFC Fight Night 28 in Brazil, and he believes without a win, he may be looking for his next fight in a different promotion.
Wisniewski (28-14-1, 0-3 UFC) meets UFC newcomer Ivan "Batman" Jorge (24-3, 0-0 UFC) on the preliminary card at Jornalista Felipe Drumond Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Wisniewski's fight opens up the Fox Sports 1-televised portion of the preliminary card.
With back-to-back losses since returning to the UFC in 2011 – and just now returning from a long layoff that included nursing himself back to full health from nagging injuries – Wisniewski is realistic about his standing with the company.
Even though his loss to Josh Neer in 2011 was a candidate for Fight of the Night before Wisniewski was not allowed to continue due to a cut after two rounds, and his split-decision loss to Chris Clements in April 2012 was a controversial one, fighters don't usually get to stick around in the UFC with three straight losses.
And that meant when Wisniewski got the call for the fight – which originally was supposed to be against Marcelo Guimares, who like Jorge is Brazilian – he wasn't about to ask for more time or a different location.
"I'm kind of in a position not to make waves," he said. "If I lose this fight, I probably deserve to get cut. I probably shouldn't say that, because I'll be hoping they keep me if I lose. But they have to bring in the best talent – it's the best show in the world. If I can't prove I'm one of the best, then they should bring a younger, hungrier fighter in there."
The record of outsiders fighting against Brazilians on UFC shows in Brazil is daunting. Their winning percentage hovers just north of 20 percent.
But Wisniewski said he can't worry about such things. Besides – it's fun to travel. Win, lose or draw, he gets to see Brazil for the first time – even though come tonight, there's plenty at stake beyond getting to travel.
"I don't think a whole lot about where I fight," said Wisniewski, who has won fights all across the country and has fought in Russia, Japan, Costa Rica and Canada, as well. "It's nice to fight close to home because family and friends can come and watch. But when you're on the road, it's less pressure. It's just me and my brother (Justin) this time. It's an old-school type of fight, and it's cool to see new places. I've done pretty well when I've traveled for fights.
"I know the UFC record of (non-Brazilians) fighting in Brazil is terrible. But I think that's probably more of a matchup thing than a travel thing."
When it comes to this matchup, Wisniewski said he didn't have to change much up from his preparation for Guimares after he got the call that opponent was out and Jorge was stepping in.
Jorge's record, on paper, would seem to give him the edge. And oddsmakers have him roughly a 2-to-1 favorite. But Wisniewski hopes all the numbers get thrown out when the cage door closes.
"It's not a huge change," he said. The guy's more of a grappler and a pretty good wrestler. He hits hard, but he's not a real power striker. I think he definitely has a very padded record – which doesn't mean he's not a great fighter. But I think his last six or seven fights were against guys who were making their MMA debut."