UFC 149’s Roland Delorme is ready for superstardom.

He’s so close, he can taste it. The Ultimate Fighter 14 cast member is one breakout performance away from becoming a familiar face in the UFC, and along with that comes larger paydays. And though fighting is Delorme’s life, money is his true motivation.

“I like training and I like getting better. I’m on the verge of making good money. I’m on the verge of making it. I can feel it. It’s close,” Delorme said in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.

With no game plans and going purely off of feel, Delorme will walk into the Octagon Saturday night with one objective—entertaining the fans. And quite frankly, that’s been Delorme’s strategy for getting noticed all along.

Delorme (top) delivers an elbow (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

“You get ahead a lot faster by having exciting fights, especially in the UFC,” Delorme explained. “You get paid for performance, so if you go out there, perform good, look good and the crowd loves you, you’ll get paid better than having 10 or 15 boring fights in the UFC and no one still knows who you are.”

Delorme is coming off of back-to-back wins in preliminary bouts showcased on Facebook, where he dazzled crowds with rear-naked choke victories against Josh Ferguson and Nick Denis. But at UFC 149, Delorme will look to go 9-1 when he meets up with Francisco Rivera.  The fight also puts Delorme in front of a new audience, as he gets to showcase his skills on primetime television during the prelims on FX.

“A lot of people are going to know my name by the time that fight is done. That’s for sure,” Delorme stated.

Delorme believes his exciting fighting style is the result of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva’s confidence in putting him on FX.

“[The UFC] is really starting to get behind me now and realize that I could have exciting fights and be a fan-favorite,” he explained.

The proof is in the pudding. Before Delorme was matched up with Rivera on the undercard, he was going to fight Dream champion and thought-to-be UFC newcomer Bibiano Fernandes on the main card. The UFC and Fernandes were unable to come to terms, and this left Delorme without a dance partner for UFC 149.

“I was upset because he was my ticket,” Delorme admitted. “It was a win-win. I beat him and I go from zero to hero. I could go out there and lose to him and make it look good and still win, you know?”

Now, Delorme finds himself fighting an opponent with a record of 8-2, with five of his wins coming via TKO. With Rivera’s weakness considered to be his ground game and Delorme’s strength being his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, one would think that the Canadian would drag this fight to the ground. Think again.

“I’m expecting to stand with him. His striking doesn’t scare me. I have to be careful, though. If his right hand touches my chin, I can go out, but I have no problem exchanging punches with him,” Delorme said.

Delorme has made it clear that he trusts his chin, and he has an enormous amount of confidence in his overall game. The 28-year-old is willing to take punches to give punches, because he doesn’t mind getting hit. In fact, he likes the feeling he gets in his toes after absorbing a devastating blow.

Roland Delorme (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

But Delorme wasn’t always so sure of his skill set. In fact, before his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Delorme had his share of doubts.

“Before I got into the house, I was told by guys surrounding me that I was on the UFC’s level, and I was like ‘whatever, don’t blow smoke up my ass.’ So I never thought I was on that level where I could compete with these guys. Once I got into the house and started training with them, I was like I can not only compete with these guys but I can beat them.”

With his confidence ever-growing, Delorme has his mind fixated on producing another fast-paced bout en route to taking the next step in his young MMA career. And if Delorme’s first two fights are any indication of what he’ll do Saturday, he’s sure to give the fans another crowd-pleasing performance.

“I like to make it exciting,” Delorme said.

Top Photo: Roland Delorme celebrates victory (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Jake Martin

Jake attends Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., where he studies Mass Communication in print and public relations. He is also the sports editor of his school newspaper, The Nicholls Worth. Jake works at the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La. during the summer.