No fighter enters the cage expecting to get finished. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be fighting in the first place.

But, as lightweight Chase Hackett learned in January, it happens to everyone.

The Factory X fighter suffered a first-round knockout to Tony Sims at Paramount Prize Fighting and will look to bounce back on April 19 against Steele McCall at Fight to Win: Hooligans.

“It’s hard to say what went wrong specifically,” Hackett told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “It was a crazy exchange and I got clipped in a weird spot; it was hard to recover. I don’t remember most of it, but I still fought another minute and a half or two minutes on wobbly legs.

“We have definitely worked on keeping my hands up. It wasn’t so much that I dropped my hands, as turning away from the punch.”

To those that witnessed the fight, Hackett showed resiliency and heart, even though he was defeated for the second time in his eight-fight career. He continued to get back up and fight after Sims dropped him multiple times.

“It hurt to lose that way,” admitted the fighter. “It’s one thing to lose a decision, but to lose like that, it sucks. It takes the wind out of your sails a little bit.

“But at the same time, it motivates you. It shows you that you’re human and that you have to keep working hard to get better.”

Getting better means rediscovering the form that propelled Hackett to four straight wins between 2011 and 2012, as well as a chance at The Ultimate Fighter and the Fight to Win lightweight title, which he relinquished to Sims.

“The biggest thing we have focused on is not respecting guys,” he declared. “[I need to] just go in there, put it on ‘em and get after it. Completely avoid the whole feeling out thing—get back to my old ways and throw caution to the wind.”

One might assume that Hackett was reckless in his loss to Sims, perhaps underestimating an opponent that was largely an enigma heading into the cage.

“I took him as seriously as I possibly could; he was just good,” admitted the Colorado native. “I knew he was going to be the toughest opponent I had faced.

“It was hard to underestimate him because there were so many unknowns. There was no tape on him, no information. I just assumed he was a legit college wrestler out of a D-I school with a professional boxing background and a BJJ purple belt.”

The situation is eerily familiar for Hackett as he prepares for his April 19 main event. Like Sims, McCall is largely an unknown in the Denver fight community. The Grudge Training Center product has competed just once in the state.

“The one thing I know about Steele is that he has a cool-ass name,” Hackett said with a laugh. “I’m jealous of that name. He doesn’t even need a nickname because his name is so cool.

“[But seriously] all of his wins are by submission, but that’s my game. That’s where I’m most comfortable. I’ve spent the last two and a half years working on my striking, but it’s not like I haven’t been training jiu-jitsu. I train extensively with J.J. Pugsley and got a chance to train with Diego Moraes in Brazil quite a bit. I guarantee you that his sub game isn’t as good as mine.”

The confident declaration from Hackett stems from what little evidence there is of McCall’s game on film. After all, McCall’s lone Colorado fight came against Ian Stonehouse, a fighter that Hackett defeated in 2011.

“He looks comfortable on his back, finishing the Stonehouse fight by triangle,” explained Hackett of his opponent. “I hope he lets me get on top, because that’s my domain—where I love to be. Now I’m focusing on staying in his face. Implementing my will on him. Not letting him get comfortable.

“He says that he wants to show his striking, but I don’t think he is comfortable on his feet. Although I’m more comfortable on the ground, I’m definitely more comfortable standing than he is. That’s going to be the difference. He thinks he wants to stand, but I will make sure he doesn’t.”

It’s that attitude that has made Hackett a consistent draw event after event. It’s something he expects to continue no matter what happens on Friday night.

“It means a lot to have a promoter put me in the main event after a loss,” said Hackett. “Seth Daniels with Fight to Win has been a very vital part of my MMA career. He’s given me tough fights. He’s been there to keep me active.

“I still put on exciting fights win or lose.”

Expect no less from Hackett when the cage door shuts against McCall.

Chase would like to thank everyone at Factory X Muay Thai/MMA, his coaches Marc Montoya, J.J. Pugsley, Wade Brinkman, Malcolm Havens, Ingrained Media, Performance MMA, Performance Labs, OG Extreme and Andrew Vecere Attorney at Law. Follow him on Twitter: @PrisonStare