SPOKANE -- Sam Sicilia has the confidence necessary to be a UFC Fighter. The Bravado necessary to step into a cage intent on physically imposing your will on another human. But beyond the swagger is the awareness of what is at stake if the other guy leaves with his arm raised high.
You're trying to take something from me, it's personal for sure," Sicilia said. "You just got to picture he's looking at you like a paycheck. It's like 'you're not collecting on this one'."
Sicilia knows the realities of life in the UFC. Following his second straight loss last April he was removed from the UFC's featherweight roster. That's until the face of the sport, UFC President Dana White, stepped in.
"It kind of circulated in the media and stuff and got back to Dana and he said 'no you ain't f-ing cut'," Sicilia said. "But he was like 'you gotta win, you gotta stay exciting'."
Two fights later - a win and a loss - and solid footing has still proven elusive.
"You carry that weight around. I've carried that around in five fights because I've never really felt secure. The only security I find is knowing that I'm a fighter and knowing that I'm doing the right thing."
While he doesn't have the stability of the big name fighters, he does have the confidence.
"I've got a long career. This guy is not gonna stop me."
Saturday in Las Vegas the Mt. Spokane grad will be the veteran, entering the octagon against rookie Aaron Phillips.
"He's not getting his first win off me that's for sure."
He can't let a new fighter make his name, when Sicilia is still trying to do so himself.
"They've given me my shots now it's (about) making them look smart," Sicilia said. "I have to put it together I guess, I know I'll do that."
Two years ago, he and Shadle Park grad Michael Chiesa competed in The Ultimate Fighter. Chiesa won, providing instant notoriety for Sicilia's close friend and training partner.
"I'm more about the fight then the spotlight. I don't care if people agree with me or how many Twitter followers I have, but I do want that record when it's all said and done."
But for the time being, a little ease of mind would be nice.
"Secure my job and secure some wins. I have the ability to do that, it's a belief in me and just going and beating these dudes up.
Chiesa is also fighting in UFC 173. He has a 3-1 record since his Ultimate Fighter win, and is going for a second straight victory against Francisco Trinaldo.
This is the first time the Spokane natives have fought on the same UFC card since The Ultimate Fighter finale in June of 2012.