The Ultimate Fighter season five veteran Gabe Ruediger is back after a layoff of over a year, but will have to take his talents outside the UFC to the local MMA circuit.

Ruediger, who was one of the original members of the WEC, had his chance in the UFC on two occasions, but came out with a record of 0-3 in the promotion. After two straight losses in 2010 and early 2011, Ruediger was released by the promotion.

“Godzilla” will now compete at BAMMA USA Badbeat 5, which takes place on March 16 from the Commerce Casino in Commerce, Calif. Ruediger recently spoke to The MMA Corner before his upcoming fight.

His opponent on Friday will be Scott Catlin, coming in with a record of 4-6, with one of those wins over The Ultimate Fighter season 13 winner Tony Ferguson.

However, Ruediger isn’t all that familiar with his opponent.

Ruediger (L) celebrates victory (Sherdog)

“I don’t know too much about him, but I know he’s primarily a stand-up fighter,” Ruediger said. “I know he trains with a good group of guys at Alliance MMA, a very established gym in San Diego.

“I know he’s coming prepared to beat me, so I think it will be a tough fight. But I also know that I’m gonna beat him.”

To get the win, Ruediger will have the same game plan as he has had in the past.

“My jiu-jitsu is established as my biggest threat,” the lightweight boldly stated. “Because of that, most people don’t want to go to the ground with me. It’s going to be one-dimensional, like in the past, but if it stays on the feet I’m okay with that too.”

Since the UFC let him go in early 2011, Ruediger has been away from the cage. With injuries and other problems getting in his way, the 34-year-old is looking forward to fighting again.

“I’m very excited,” Ruediger stated. “My last fight was a loss, which gives me even more motivation to get back to work. It’s good to get back to my roots.”

Ruediger was originally supposed to make his return in January. However, his opponent pulled out the day of the bout. Ruediger admits that it was a tough break, but isn’t letting that bring him down.

“It was very disappointing,” said Ruediger. “I prepared long and hard after a layoff. I trained, weigh-ins went well, but unfortunately he pulled out. It didn’t allow me to lose focus, but was definitely frustrating.”

The California native has certainly had his fair share of high points, once going on a streak of nine wins in a row early in his career, but Ruediger is more known for his troubles on the big stage.

With losses in the UFC and injuries sidelining him for a period of time, Ruediger even contemplated hanging up the gloves for good.

Ruediger (R) connects with a right hand (Sherdog)

“I had neck surgery in 2008 and back surgery in 2011, injuries that make you question, ‘why am I doing this? And how much longer do I have left?'”

However, the veteran is still keeping a good spirit.

“I still question should I keep going, but I’m still passionate about it and to me, losses are my motivation,” Ruediger explained. “When I fall, I wanna get back up stronger. I’ve done that in my career before and I don’t think this time will be any different.”

Ruediger is taking things one fight, and one opponent, at a time. But to get on another winning streak, he admits that there will need to be changes in the way he prepares his strategy.

“I need to go in there with my head on straight and be more cautious. I used to go in there with the intention of finishing the fight right off the bat. But I think I need to hold back a little bit more and pick my shots and timing. That’s the biggest thing for me to go on a streak again.”

Gabe would like to thank, first and foremost, his friends, family and fans. Also his sponsors: Tri-Coasta, On the Mat and Forty Thieves. Finally, all of his training partners.

Photo: Gabe Ruediger (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.