Some of the best fights offered by the UFC come in the lighter weight classes, especially bantamweight. One man in that show-stopping division is John Albert, a Washington native with a fun fighting style, a great attitude and the potential to be a staple of the UFC for some time to come.

Sure, his 1-3 record with the company isn’t the sexiest you are going to find. However, consider the fact that those three losses came against Ivan Menjivar, Erik Perez (in controversial fashion) and Scott Jorgensen. All of those guys are top-15 fighters in the UFC’s 135-pound division, and Albert gave them one helluva fight. In fact, all of those fights could have been “Fight of the Night.”

Despite his current three-fight skid, Albert is surprisingly lax and unconcerned with the possibility of a loss at the upcoming UFC on Fox event in Seattle. With the way the UFC has been canning fighters, especially fighters on losing streaks, one would think that a guy who has lost three straight would be extremely nervous. Perhaps Albert has a poker face on, or perhaps he is truly a man unhindered by things of that nature.

“It doesn’t affect me personally. I don’t care if it’s a must-win fight. Every fight is a must-win fight,” Albert explained in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I am here to put on a show. I don’t fight to win. I fight to be remembered and to entertain the fans.”

That type of attitude was in a tune of the same note that Chuck Liddell sang earlier this week when sharing his opinion on fighters in the UFC. Liddell said fighters need to stop fighting safe because they are there to entertain the fans. As controversial as those claims may be, they shed some light on guys like Albert who are currently employed by the company.

“It’s really hard; people are scared for their job and need to win,” Albert noted. “I want to be in the UFC more than anything. However, nobody should be forced to do anything. People are here to make money. For fighters, you have to entertain and win, so being pressured to fight to entertain as opposed to winning is kind of unfair.”

Albert will take on Yaotzin Meza this weekend. Meza is dropping to bantamweight after one fight at featherweight. He was defeated in his UFC premiere and fans weren’t afforded much to go on from that fight in sizing up Meza’s skill set. However, Albert is somewhat familiar with the Arizona native.

“He’s a lot tougher than people expect. Experience-wise, we are pretty close to each other. Between amateur and professional fights, we almost have the same amount on our resumes,” Albert revealed. “I actually cross-trained with him a year and a half ago. He’s a much tougher guy than what he showed against [Chad] Mendes, especially because he took that fight on a week notice. Plus, he’s supported by a great camp.”

That is the kind of respect that a humble fighter like Albert grants to a warrior as yet unproven in the eyes of the UFC masses. However, Albert is quick to point out that he is not ready to crown Meza the winner just because he knows more about Meza’s skills than most fans of the sport.

“My biggest advantage over him is going to be my striking” Albert said. “I am more dynamic and I am not wild when I throw. I am crisp, clean and throw good combos. I keep my hands high.

“He hasn’t put anybody away, really. He’s more of a ground-submission guy. Plus, I have a great striking coach that I work with everyday.”

Albert has kept busy since his fight with Jorgensen. Had you followed him on Twitter, you would have noticed his updates from a grappling tournament that took place in Canada. Considering Albert has lost his last three fights via submission, this is a great move for a guy looking to increase his already solid ground skills.

“I took part in the FILA world grappling tournament, representing the United States after I qualified earlier in the year,” Albert revealed. “Twenty-five countries were invited to compete. I was grappling against some of the best wrestlers and ground fighters in the world and actually ended up taking third place (losing only to the eventual winner). In my opinion, if we were at different ends of the bracket, that would have been the championship bout, but I was still pleased with my overall performance.”

That is the type of improvement that prospects like Albert have to continue to make in order to make a run in this spot. Not only does a fighter have to increase his all-around skills, but he needs to get comfortable fighting both in hostile territory and in the company of friends and family. Albert, a Washington-based fighter, will have the Seattle crowd on his side here, which can either be a blessing or a curse.

“I have been fighting long enough to where I don’t really get jitters anymore, especially fighting in front of a home crowd,” Albert confessed. “I am pretty comfortable. The only nerves I have is if I can’t perform. That is the only time I get affected by nerves.”

Of course, with any upcoming fight, a fighter doesn’t want to look past his opponent, especially a guy employed by the biggest and best MMA promotion in the world. However, Albert already has two men in mind for his next fight, and they are fighting each other in Indianapolis in the near future. In fact, one of them is a guy he expressed interest in fighting the last time we spoke to him.

“It’s funny, because I want to fight a rematch with Erik Perez, but I still want to take on Takeya Mizugaki to avenge my friend Jeff Hougland’s loss in Macau,” Albert revealed. “The UFC usually likes to put winners against winners, so I think that would help get me up the ladder, assuming I beat Meza. Either of those guys would be fights I would want next.”

John would like to thank Dennis Hallman and Victory Athletics, Soahin Srisuk at Srisuk Muay Thai, Mercelo Alonso and Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Jeff Hougland and Combat Sports and Fitness, Ali Crosbie “CPT,” New Leaf Hyperbarics, Comic Oasis in Las Vegas and San Diego, Puget Sound Computer Repair, Center Field Sports with Ben Greaby, Evergreen Speedway, and Dethrone. Follow Albert on Twitter: @UFCPrinceAlbert

Top Photo: John Albert (top) controls his opponent (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.