After fighting professionally since 2007, James Krause will finally make his UFC debut on Saturday.

But to say his rise to this point was an easy road would be a far from correct. Krause has competed in the top regional promotions in the world, including a short stint with World Extreme Cagefighting. After winning three fights in a row in 2011, the UFC selected Krause to the 32-man cast of The Ultimate Fighter: Live to try and earn himself a spot in the house. However, Krause was defeated by Justin Lawrence in the opening round, forcing the now 27-year-old to return to the Resurrection Fighting Alliance promotion.

Krause went undefeated under the RFA banner, increasing his winning streak to seven dating back to 2011. The lightweight continued to impress with win after win, but the opportunity to fight for the UFC could never come together—despite the fact that the promotion contacted him multiple times. That all changed when Krause got the call to fight Sam Stout at UFC 161 this Saturday.

Krause (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I’d be lying if I said I never got frustrated,” Krause told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview.

“It’s almost like a dream come true. People work their entire careers to make it to the UFC and I just feel real fortunate to make it there. It’s really cool that all my hard work is finally paying off.”

UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has been on a mission to sign Krause to the roster. The UFC initially matched Krause up with Yves Edwards in December, but was replaced by Jeremy Stephens. Then just months ago, Krause said the UFC was targeting his debut for the UFC on Fox 7 card in April, but due to it in being on week’s notice, Krause declined.

“The UFC had called me a couple times before this one, but it didn’t work out. Last time, Joe Silva called me on six days notice, but it was too much weight [to cut],” Krause explained. “I told him if you call me again, I’ll be ready, and he called me a few weeks later.”

Krause isn’t being given an easy opponent for his Octagon debut, though, stepping in as an injury replacement for Isaac Vallie-Flagg.

Standing in the way of his first UFC win will be veteran Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout, who is coming off a split decision win over Caros Fodor in his last fight. Stout has fought for the UFC since 2006, compiling a record of 8-7. The Canadian never fails to put on exciting three-round bouts, with 15 of his 28 fights going the distance, earning Stout many Fight of the Night honors. Krause is well aware that Saturday’s bout will be one of, if not the toughest, of his career.

“He’s a tough guy, a great combination puncher, and has a tough chin,” Krause explained. “[But] stylistically, I think I match up very well with him. I think it’s a great fight for the fans, and I’m ready to test my skills to see how much I’ve grown the past couple of years.”

Krause (left) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I’m always looking for a finish. If you look at my career, I’m the exact opposite of him. But I know he’s not going to be easy to put away.”

UFC 161 takes place from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where the crowd will favor the Canadian Stout. Will this have an impact of Krause? The Missouri fighter believes the crowd will have zero impact on what happens inside the Octagon.

“The fans can’t help either one of us no matter where the fight is,” Krause stated. “It will help him be a little more confident coming in, but that’s fine. I could care less if the fight is in Canada, the U.S., or a McDonald’s parking lot. A fight’s a fight.”

As far as a prediction, Krause is calling a decision win on Saturday. But of course, a win is a win no matter how it is accomplished. The debut of “The James Krause” has been highly anticipated for not only him, but many fans in the MMA community. On Saturday, he will turn his dream into a reality by gracing the biggest stage in mixed martial arts.

James would like to thank all of his teammates at Grindhouse MMA and his wife. Follow him on Twitter: @TheJamesKrause

Photo: James Krause (L) (Jeff Vulgamore/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.