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Brad Pickett looking to use 'momentum' from Francisco Rivera win to continue UFC career

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Heading into UFC Fight Night 84 on Saturday, Brad Pickett knew there was more on the line than a win or a loss. As he said pre-fight, he was, at a minimum, fighting for his job.

Lucky for him, after besting Francisco Rivera via split decision on the main card at Saturday's event in London, his immediate future in the UFC is not in jeopardy. Still, even after getting the win, an emotional Pickett told UFC commentator Dan Hardy and the crowd in attendance that had he lost, he was going to retire. 'Demons', Pickett said, were something he'd be wrestling with and was looking to put behind him. If he couldn't, that was it for his career.

At the post-fight press conference, Pickett explained exactly what he meant.

"My demons were, it didn't matter who I was facing that night - it could've been no. 1 in the world to some guy off the street - I just needed to get the win. I went in with that in mind. I was desperate. Obviously, I was coming off of a few losses.

"For me, I was fighting for my job in there, in my eyes. Even if I hadn't lost tonight and they said they wouldn't have kept me, I probably would end up retiring because I'm not in this sport just to make up the numbers. It's not about just competing at this level. It's about getting performances and winning."

According to Pickett, yes, he's a bit older than many other UFC fighters, but he doesn't feel like his best days are behind him. He just needed a win to prove that and create a jumping off point for the next chapter of his career.

"In training, I've been feeling great," he said. "I know I'm 37, but I started this career late. I didn't start fighting until I was 26. I still think I've got some good years left in me. I just needed to get the result tonight and I think that'll give me my mojo back. Now I got that done, now I think I'll move onto better things.

"It all has to do with my body, really," Pickett explained. "My body's not giving up on me. I'm feeling great in the gym. I'm competing with guys at the highest level in American Top Team, younger than me, and I'm doing well and beating them. It's not a case that I can't compete at this level, it's just that I need to transfer my training to the cage and get the wins. You can be the most exciting fighter in the world, but if you keep losing every fight, you're going to lose your job. You can be the most boring fighter in the world and win every fight, but if you lose you can get cut as well."

Pickett wasn't imagining the danger. Of his 11 UFC fights, he'd lost six. Before Saturday, he last fought at UFC 189 where he was brutally knocked out by Thomas Almeida. That loss was his third in a row. If he was going to stay in the UFC, he had to earn his keep. With a win under his belt, Pickett intends to compete as long as he can stay relevant.

"I'm love my job, so I want to stay on this horse as long as I can. Like I say, I feel like I still compete at this level and not just be in there to make up the numbers. I'm going to keep fighting. I'd like to get back in there as soon as I can.

"As for opponents, my original opponent pulled out. I would love to get that rematch and get back in there and try and get a little momentum behind me now," he noted. "Now I got my confidence back. I was always confident in the gym. I've been doing well in the gym, but I need to translate into the cage. I managed to get a win tonight, so hopefully I can get a bit of momentum back in me."

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