Over the past couple of years, Pat Miletich product Rory Markham has been in the right place at the right time more often than not.
Despite a couple of small setbacks and injuries, he moved up from smaller shows to the International Fighting League in 2006 and promptly became one of the promotion's premier fighters. Markham helped his Quad Cities Silverbacks win back-to-back team championships.
Through his performances in the promotion, Markham earned a spot on the national MMA scene. His exposure granted him the opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championships.
Having fought just over a month ago in Adrenaline, Markham makes the quick turn around to face fellow debuting UFC fighter Brodie Farber as part of the July 19 Ultimate Fight Night event in Las Vegas.
"As much as I moaned and complained about the turn-arounds, it's something that the IFL prepared me for...something like this," said Markham of fighting in consecutive months. "I had a relatively quick and easy fight in Chicago (at Adrenaline), so everything was just the right recipe for me to take this fight on.
"I'm finally going to be in a situation/position that when I grow in the UFC and become what I think I can, I'll be able to truly fight the best in the world."
In order for him to have gotten this chance to fight in the UFC in the first place, Markham's career with the IFL had to have come to an end, which it has with the company hitting hard times and seemingly headed into oblivion.
"It was, more than anything, a positive experience for me," he reminisced about the IFL. "It did help me grow on a national level. I was still fighting on the small shows before that; my biggest fight was in the XFO.
"The biggest thing I remember about it was the camaraderie, the fun we had. That's something I'm definitely going to miss about it. All in all it was just a positive experience and I wouldn't really be here without it, so I've got nothing but great things to say about it."
Past aside, Markham's focus now turns to Farber, a former "Rage in the Cage" titleholder who has spent the last couple of years fighting in Mexico before getting his opportunity in the UFC.
"I think anybody on this level, especially the first fight in the UFC, there's going to be that over compensation of the fight, so I expect a well-prepared opponent," Markham commented. "A strong and confident one and all I can hope for is that he prepared as well as I did and we can really go out there and lay it on the line for everybody.
"I'm there to prove I belong there, so I hope Brodie is prepared for that."
If there's one thing he has on Farber, it is that he's been on the national stage before and flourished, giving him what could be a big psychological edge heading into the fight.
"It's going to give me a sense of calm, because I'm not going to be completely overwhelmed," he stated. "Obviously it's the biggest show in the world, but it's not exactly my first rodeo when it comes to big shows.
"I think it's going to give me a little more composure when we step into the Octagon."
Even though it's a newer, bigger stage for him, Markham intends on delivering the same kind of performance people have come to expect from him over the last couple of years.
"The fans can be expecting the same old hat from me; entertaining and a lot of knockouts," he said. "That's just who I am, I wouldn't have it any other way."
With the intentions on staying busy, but without the kind of physical wear and tear he accumulated in the IFL, Markham has his sights set on a Midwest UFC return.
"My biggest thing is that I would like to take three months between every fight; that would be ideal," he stated. "I'm hearing rumors of Chicago, and I'll do my damndest to be on that card."