“Remember no man is really defeated unless he is discouraged.” – Bruce Lee

At 27 years of age, middleweight Chris Camozzi has already stepped into the cage 26 times, with 10 of those bouts coming inside the confines of the UFC Octagon. Yet, despite his past experience, the Colorado fighter is still encountering new types of adversity and challenges. Take, for example, what happened to him at UFC Fight Night 31 in November against Lorenz Larkin.

“I lost my vision in my right eye during the first round,” Camozzi told The MMA Corner. “That set the tone for the fight. Obviously, I don’t blame the loss on that. That’s what you do in this sport, render your opponent defenseless.”

Hindered by the reduced eyesight, Camozzi fell on the scorecards. However, the fight was certainly worthy of “Fight of the Night” consideration.

“I didn’t mix it up enough,” he said of his performance. “I out-landed him if you look at the numbers, but a few of the shots he got me with did more damage. I was only seeing half of Larkin and couldn’t see what was coming from the other side. It made me nervous to change levels. Looking back at it now, I should have gone for it. That could have changed the tone of the fight.”

Although hindsight is always 20-20, the injury—albeit temporary—was an eye-opener for the Factory X product.

“It made me realize that your career could be cut short, not by your choice. The biggest fear I have in terms of this career is not having the option to stop—being told my career is done,” admitted Camozzi. “There wasn’t an inch of me that thought about giving it up because of injury. This is something I love doing. Injuries can happen; it’s part of the job.”

Even with the defeat, Camozzi hasn’t lost sight of his goal: the UFC middleweight championship.

“To be honest, and it sounds cliché, but I would give my right eye for that belt,” he proclaimed. “Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to fight after that, but I’d go out as champion [laughs]. It’s one of those things where this is something that I want so bad, there’s a lot of sacrifices I’m willing to make.”

The back-to-back losses certainly mean that Camozzi has a lot of work to do before he can hear his name in the title mix. Yet, as he prepares to take on Andrew Craig at UFC Fight Night 39 on April 11 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Camozzi isn’t panicking about a potential third straight defeat.

“I’m not losing to Andrew Craig, so I’m not worried about it,” the middleweight declared with a laugh. “I think of every fight as a must-win situation, so for me the mindset is the same. Losing two in a row isn’t ideal and I’ve never had it happen in my career, but I’m fighting top-level guys. These guys are monsters.”

Like Camozzi, Craig currently finds himself in a bit of rough patch, having dropped two of his last three following an 8-0 start to his career. Nonetheless, Camozzi isn’t expecting a dull fight when the cage door shuts.

“I like him as an opponent; he brings it, comes to fight,” said Camozzi, describing his adversary. “He doesn’t look like one of those opponents that is looking to play the game and outpoint guys. I think that will make for an exciting fight between the two of us. I think this is a very winnable fight for me. It should be a fan-favorite fight as well.”

While Camozzi doesn’t envision himself losing on Friday, all that really matters to The Ultimate Fighter alum is leaving a lasting impression for the fans.

“I hate sitting at home and watching guys try to earn a decision on points. They play the rules and just get by,” he explained. “You need to win in this sport [and the UFC], but the fans want to see exciting fights. I don’t ever want to go down as having a career where people didn’t want to watch me fight. I want people to be excited about my fights and want to watch them. That’s better than getting wins and people dread watching me or fast forwarding through my fight.”

With his last two defeats in his rear-view mirror, Camozzi isn’t afraid to place some lofty expectations on himself and Craig.

“I think fans are going to get the fight they were cheated out of the last time the UFC went to Abu Dhabi. They sent Anderson Silva and Demian Maia over there to put on a fight and that didn’t happen. A lot of people were disappointed,” he said.

“Andrew Craig and I may not have the star power of those two guys, but this is a match-up that people are going to love. If you miss it, you’ll be disappointed. Both of us bring it, and I think somebody’s getting finished. I’m coming to finish more than ever before.”

Chris would like to thank his coaches and teammates at Factory X Muay Thai/MMA, his management Ingrained Media, his sponsors: Enseco Energy Services, Boze Kennels, RevGear, Alienware, Coffee Bean Direct, Reddit MMA, MMAadnet, and Vecere and Little P.C. Follow Camozzi on Twitter: @ChrisCamozzi