Patrick Cote’s ‘Last Hurrah’ as Canadian MMA Hero Scott Zerr August 10, 2015 UFC Canada has always produced some of the most rugged and durable fighters in the entire MMA scene. If Irish athletes come from a “fighting nation” then Canadian competitors are “pioneers who braved unrelenting elements.” If Conor McGregor is a guy you’d want beside you in a bar fight in Belfast, then you’d certainly want Patrick Cote as back-up if you’re about to tangle with a polar bear on the frozen tundra of northern Manitoba. Cote was one of the first real stars from the Great White North, jumping in with only five fights’ worth of experience in 2004 as a short-notice replacement to face Tito Ortiz, who at the time was a face of the UFC having fought the likes of Frank Shamrock, Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, and Chuck Liddell. Despite a decision loss, Cote’s determination and willingness to take the fight endeared him to the UFC brass. Now twelve years later, the original Canadian MMA star is on his last hurrah, likely facing a must-win situation against another well-worn veteran in Josh Burkman when the UFC makes its debut in the Province of Saskatchewan on August 23 with Fight Night 74. The Quebec City native fought in Canada’s first two sanctioned MMA organizations, UCC and TKO, before jumping to the UFC, but two losses followed his setback against Ortiz and Cote was cut loose. But it didn’t take long for him to restore a winning attitude. Cote put together one of the best performances of his career in a battle against Jason MacDonald, becoming the Maximum Fighting Championship’s first-ever title-holder in an epic five-rounder that is often mentioned as one of the best non-UFC fights ever in Canada (Cote won by tapout via rear-naked choke in the fifth). That victory got him back in the UFC picture via The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback. Cote lived up to the show’s moniker, coming back to life with wins over Jorge Rivera and Edwin Dewees before ultimately losing the final to Travis Lutter. The loss didn’t derail Cote. In fact, it lit a bonfire inside him. He put together four straight wins, including Knockout of the Night honors against favorites Drew McFedries and Kendall Grove, and found himself in a title fight against Anderson Silva. However, a knee injury ended that fight prematurely and put Cote into a tailspin that resulted in two more losses. Once again, he was cut by the UFC. His absence was two years in length and he’s been a full-timer with the major circuit since, going 4-2 and coming off a one-up, one-down situation with a loss to Stephen Thompson and a win over Joe Riggs. Cote stands 8-9 in 17 UFC fights, and is now 35 years old. Like Cote, Burkman is also in a must-win situation as he is coming off a loss as well as a no-contest against Hector Lombard. Cote is certainly on the downside of his fighting career, getting a bit of a life-preserver when he coached TUF: Nations and then won the respective coach-vs.-coach battle against Aussie Kyle Noke. Cote won’t often get mentioned when talk turns to Canadian MMA. Currently, Rory MacDonald is the (smashed-up) face of Canadian MMA. Georges St. Pierre, one of the GOATs (greatest of all time), will always be at the mountain top, and at some point will have to be considered as one of the country’s all-time great athletes. Someday down the road, Cote will fade out of the picture completely, but he deserves to put on some sort of pedestal. His is a testament not necessarily of greatness, but one of longevity, occasional highlight-reel finishes, and an overall spirit of Canada mixed martial arts.