Edmonton heavyweight Tim (The Thrashing Machine) Hague has run the gamut of emotions in his 109-second UFC career.
Despite a broken nose, the six-foot-four 265-pounder wept with joy after finishing Pat Barry at UFC 98 in his Octagon debut. Then the big man was beaten senseless, finally staggering to his feet in bewilderment after being knocked out in a UFC-record seven seconds by Todd Duffee at UFC 102.
Hague (10-2) returns to action at UFC 109 in Las Vegas on Feb. 6 against Chris (The Crowbar) Tuchscherer.
The former kindergarten teacher is feeling positive about the mixed martial arts matchup but hasn't forgotten the Duffee debacle.
"Every day I remember that last loss of mine," he told The Canadian Press. "And how hungry I am and how hard I'm preparing for this fight."
Hague, 26, says he returns to the cage a wiser man for the Aug. 29 Duffee defeat.
"Don't go for knockout of the night on the first punch of the night," he said with a chuckle.
"I loaded up my hook way too much and ended up looking extremely stupid because of it. Watching it in slow motion, my boxing looked brutal. I was wide open and Todd Duffee just threw the right punch and I ran into it almost full speed. I was bound to get put on my back with that scenario."
Hague, who had shown some wildness at the start of the Barry fight, came out and faked a right before launching a ponderous left. His arm had not even left his side when Duffee's jab smashed into his face like a wrecking ball caving in a building.
Hague crumpled and Duffee -- a six-foot-three 251-pound slab of muscle that night -- threw eight more punches, using No. 6 to turn out the lights with a vicious left to the chin.
The Canadian was left with "a bit of a headache for a couple of days."
"He came and talked to me in my dressing room but I don't really remember much of what he said," Hague said of Duffee. "The bell was still rattled a bit."
Duffee, who was making his UFC debut, turned to the camera in the cage after the win and dismissed Hague as "an appetizer." But Hague, who doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body outside the cage, has nothing but good things to say about his victor.
"I don't know if I should say this or not but I'm actually pretty happy for Todd Duffee because he's got the look that the UFC really likes," Hague said. "They're going to market the crap out of him after that. I don't know, it's deserved. He set the record for the fastest knockout. All the power to him, he's a nice guy. And in the future, I'm sure we'd help each other prepare for fights."
Duffee has not fought since beating Hague. He was slated to face Paul Buentello at UFC 107 in December but had to pull out injured.
Hague says Duffee bears watching upon his return.
"He's like a 260-pound GSP," he said, referring to UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre of Montreal.
Missing out on his win bonus, Hague's basic purse was US$7,000 -- not much compensation for months of training. So he had to find a job, framing a shop.
He did manage to get in a nine-week training camp. He switched gyms, working at the Legends Training Centre but retains the same training partners in coach Kyle Cardinal and former UFC fighter Victor (The Matrix) Valimaki.
"I just can't tell you how confident I feel. I can't wait for this fight," Hague said.
The Duffee loss was a far cry from the upset win in May over Barry, an accomplished kickboxer. The big Canadian would have given Miss America a run for her money in terms of post-win emotion.
"He busted my nose I think but it's all good," a jubilant Hague, blood dripping out of his broken beak, said after the win. "I'm ready to drink some beers."
"One thing about me is you're never ever going to see me quit. You can turn my face into mashed potatoes and I'm going to keep coming," he added.
Tuchscherer is a six-foot-one 260 pounder who trains with heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. The former two-time all-American wrestler with Division 2 Minnesota State University Moorhead showed his mettle despite losing his UFC debut to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 102 in two minutes 27 seconds.
Tuchscherer (17-2 with one no contest) took a kick to the groin early that was audible at ringside as Gonzaga's left foot thumped into his cup. Tuchscherer went down in agony but returned after a lengthy delay that included him sitting on a stool with a bucket positioned in front of him -- just in case.
When he was ready to return, the two touched gloves and Gonzaga said "Are you OK?." Tuchscherer nodded yes and was promptly felled with a kick to the head. A short beatdown ensued until the referee stepped in.
Tuchscherer's blond hair was tinged red after the beating from Gonzaga.
"I guess he showed his toughness," said Hague.
Hague see Tuchscherer as "the perfect matchup," saying he has the edge in standup and submissions while acknowledging he will have to watch Tuchscherer's takedowns.
While Hague turned heads with his submission win over Barry, the critics came out after Duffee. The big Canadian says "the haters" made their voices felt.
"So it's up and down and you're only as good as your last fight. I'm excited to show what I can do in this fight. Win this fight and I'm 11-2, 2-1 in the UFC and I'm back on track climbing higher and higher in the UFC heavyweight division."