CB Dollaway on 'life-changing' fight

On Nov. 17, many of the UFC's biggest stars accumulated in Las Vegas for a major news conference.

Among those in attendance: former middleweight champion and perhaps greatest mixed martial artist of all time Anderson Silva; light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, inaugural female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz and enormously popular featherweight contender Conor McGregor.

Also reserved a special seat at the media conference -- back row, third from right -- was UFC middleweight CB Dollaway.

Dollaway (15-5) stuck out a bit during the hour-long event -- and not just due to the beige suit he was wearing. Frankly, the 31-year-old has not accomplished what many of the others on the stage have in their careers.

Nevertheless, he says he was comfortable sitting alongside star power and didn't take it personally when he wasn't asked a single question.

Dollaway was at the media conference because he fights an all-time great in Lyoto Machida on Saturday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. For Machida (21-5), it's one of many high-profile fights. For Dollaway, it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Winning this fight would change my life," Dollaway said. "This could be the fight that really puts my name on the map.

"Obviously, I felt like a new guy on the block [during that media conference]. I've never won a title. But timing is everything and it's lined up to where I'm facing Lyoto now. I didn't expect to get a question at the conference. I'm sitting up there with Anderson Silva. I haven't earned it yet, but I'm putting in my time and I'm trying to get there. All these guys started somewhere."

As is usually the case in these situations, Dollaway is not expected to cash in on this life-changing opportunity. Oddsmakers have Machida a significant 6-to-1 betting favorite.

Dollaway said he's confident in his chances, however. He's undefeated in professional fights outside of the U.S., including two previous trips to Brazil.

He and boxing coach Jose Benavidez have prepared exhaustively for Machida's karate-influenced style and the Arizona-based Dollaway said he takes confidence in the fact he has trained with UFC champion Chris Weidman in the past, who outclassed Machida in July.

"The fight itself is just another fight," Dollaway said. "He's just a man. He got beat up pretty good in his last fight by Chris Weidman -- a guy I've been in and sparred with and done all right with. Obviously, a fight is a different story, but that gives me confidence."

A former All-American NCAA wrestler at Arizona State University who has won four of his past five bouts, Dollaway said he will ask for a 185-pound title shot after beating Machida.

"Yeah, why not?" Dollaway said. "MMA is such a different game. You never know how the cards are going to fall. Once I get this victory, I'm definitely asking for a title shot.

"Anything can happen in a fight. I'm not going to sit here and say I can beat Lyoto 10 times out of 10, but I only need to beat him one out of 10 and that one has to come on Dec. 20. A lot of people didn't give TJ Dillashaw a shot in hell against Renan Barao and Dillashaw smashed him. Matt Serra against Georges St-Pierre -- that's not happening 10 times out of 10. Serra just needed that one time."