Lightweight Carlo Prater may already have a UFC win on his record, but he’d be the first to admit that it doesn’t mean much. After all, his promotional debut came on short notice in the welterweight division, and he came away with a disqualification victory over Erick Silva.

Now, returning to his natural weight class, the Brazilian will take on Canadian T.J. Grant at UFC on Fuel TV 3 on May 15. Although Prater has more than 40 professional fights, the fighter sees his upcoming fight as the biggest of his career.

“(A win) is the true start of my UFC career,” Prater told The MMA Corner. “Hopefully we will have an exciting war and get (Fight of the Night) bonuses.”

A disorientated Prater is treated by doctors at UFC 142 (Sherdog)

Even with the win in his Octagon debut at UFC 142, Prater was surprised at the result following the controversial series of events that saw referee Mario Yamasaki disqualify Silva for illegal strikes.

“We touched gloves, I stalked. He threw a quick knee and I caught it on a single. He sprawled and gave me some hard, wrapping shots,” Prater recalled. “I felt a searing, sharp shock in my neck. I crumpled and the ref stopped it. I figured I had lost, but I found out backstage I hadn’t.”

More than anything, Prater was just happy to escape the Octagon with his health. The shots to the back of his head left him disoriented and unconcerned with the outcome of the fight.

“I didn’t even care (that I won),” Prater said. “I just wanted to not feel the shock shooting down and out my neck through my right arm.”

The loss to Silva isn’t something that Prater is thinking about heading into his fight with fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Grant.

“It’s the past for me,” the Brazilian explained. “I am not hung up on it. He shouldn’t be either.”

Despite his past success at welterweight, which includes victories over current UFC interim champ Carlos Condit and Keith Wisniewski, Prater is thrilled to have a full training camp for this fight and a return to the 155-pound division.

“I have fought exclusively at 155 since 2009,” Prater explained. “I jumped at the shot (against Silva) because it was the opportunity I was given. I plan on staying at 155 for the foreseeable future.”

Prater (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

It’s clear why Prater is more comfortable at the lighter weight. After all, he’s had more success within the division, submitting the likes of Melvin Guillard and Pat Healy, and is currently riding a five-fight winning streak.

“I feel better because I know I can maximize my reach and size fighting at 155,” said Prater. “And cutting there is not much of a problem for me.”

Against Grant, Prater will have a significant advantage in experience, at least in quantity. But he knows that’s not the most important factor.

“He has more UFC fights,” acknowledged Prater. “So it equals out if you look at it that way. “

Regardless of that fact, one thing is for certain, Prater is ready to prove he belongs.

“(More than anything), I’d like to thank the UFC for this opportunity,” he stated.

Carlo would also like to thank Apex Sports Agency, Popó Fight Club, MMAConditioning.TV, Venum, Kaiwaa, Muaythai.com.br, Proformance Mouthguards, and all of his loyal family, friends, and fans. Follow his on Twitter: @TheONEMMA and check out CarloPrater.com.

Top Photo: Carlo Prater (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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