Age before beauty, the saying goes.

But calling Colorado’s 30-year-old Nick Macias old would be a little ridiculous. Yet, as the featherweight prepares to face off against 22-year-old Mirsad Bektic at Resurrection Fighting Alliance 7 on March 22 at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo., it’s easy to see where age—and experience—are a factor.

“I think he’s the right opponent at the right time,” Macias told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I’ve never been particular on choosing who my opponents are or anything like that, but it’s a good fight for me.”

On paper, it’s easy to see where Macias is coming from. Although just three fights separate the Coloradan’s 6-2 mark from Bektic’s undefeated 5-0 record, digging deeper tells a whole different story. Macias’ competition has more than 100 fights and a record of 66-42, while his younger opponent’s opposition has mustered just a 14-37 record.

“I think in terms of his career, he’s due for a step up in competition,” said Macias. “He’s a tough and talented kid. He’s aggressive. That should make for an entertaining fight.”

The career path of Macias has taken quite the detour over the last year. After dropping a closely contested decision to UFC veteran Tyler Toner in late 2011, the Factory X product signed with RFA and was expected to take on undefeated wrestler Lance Palmer.

However, an abdominal injury to Palmer led to Macias facing—and submitting—Sean Wilson at RFA 3 in June. Afterwards, all signs pointed to a collision with Palmer yet again, but Macias fell victim to a knee injury that put him on the shelf ever since.

“The knee is money,” he declared. “It was the type of thing where it was messed up and took way too long to heal because my body laid down too much scar tissue. I ended up getting it aspirated and drained, and that relieved all the pressure in there. It’s good to go.”

The lengthy nine-month layoff followed back-to-back six-month gaps between fights. While the fighter has gotten used to the adversity of being out of the cage, even mentally tough athletes like Macias have their breaking point.

“I was going stir crazy not being able to do anything,” admitted Macias. “There was a really long period where I was training and in shape, but wasn’t getting any fights. This wasn’t too much worse. [It was] pretty frustrating, but probably more so if I weren’t used to it.”

Now, as Macias prepares to battle one of RFA’s prized prospects, he’s got a bigger goal in mind: Jared Downing’s 145-pound title.

“I’m really hoping that a win puts me in title contention,” he said. “I don’t know how [RFA] feels about it, but it would give me two wins inside the promotion on a three-fight contract. I don’t believe there are any other featherweights in the promotion with two wins. I think it’s an even easier sell if I can get a finish.”

Further fueling Macias’ efforts against Bektic isn’t his dreams of capturing a title. Instead, it’s the added exposure that comes with fighting on the night’s main card on AXS TV.

“I’m pretty excited that I get to fight on TV,” acknowledged the 30-year-old. “Now I can check that one off the bucket list.

“Check number two [on the list] would be getting a finish on TV.”

After venturing to Bektic’s home state of Nebraska for his last outing against Wilson, Macias will return home to compete in his own backyard once more. While many fighters battle distractions when competing at home, Macias won’t complain.

“There are some perks to it; cutting weight, finding meals,” he stated. “And it’s really nice to have the altitude advantage. That won’t hurt me at all.”

Regardless of the home-cage advantage he’ll enjoy on Friday night, Macias is hopeful that a win over Bektic will get his career moving in the right direction once again. Or, in other words, keep him active.

“I’m happy with RFA; they’ve been really good to me,” he said. “Since I got injured, they went out and secured the TV deal and they’re putting on more cards. I think they’ll be able to keep me pretty busy.”

With another win, Macias’ MMA bucket list may check off a few items, and add a few more.

Nick would like to thank Performance MMA, Howard Combat Kimonos, Intimidation Clothing, Lexani Wheels, Indelible Ink Tattoo, RBP, Delta Disaster Services of Southern Colorado, Brawlin and Choke Artist. Follow him on Twitter: @nikkomacias