Bruno Korea admits he wasn’t ready during his first stint in the UFC.

Korea (12-3-1) got his first crack at the UFC on Season 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” where he was eliminated in the semifinals in 2015. In his UFC debut, Korea was submitted by Matheus Nicolau and subsequently released from the promotion.

Since then, the now 30-year-old has won five straight and will get a second opportunity at a UFC contract when he meets Carlos Vergara at Dana White’s Contender Series 38 on Tuesday.

“Looking at my career, when I was first given the chance to fight in the world’s biggest organization, I was still a bit immature in the sport,” Korea told MMA Junkie. “After just four professional bouts, I was already in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ facing far more experienced opponents. It was a great experience. After I lost to Matheus Nicolau and got dropped by the UFC, I didn’t get discouraged.

“I kept on fighting, maturing, and improving – both technically and mentally. The results speak for themselves. I’ve had good results in my last several fights. And now I have this opportunity at Contender Series. Now I’m a far better fighter than I was in 2015. I’ve had six years of evolution. I can’t wait to show off my game.”

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He takes on Vergara (8-2-1), who’s knocked out his past four opponents, but the taekwondo specialist is confident wherever the fight goes.

“He appears to be a muay Thai specialist,” Korea said. “He likes to change bases. He likes to throw left kicks and has very good boxing. I’ve studied him. I imagine our fight will be very active and take place everywhere – on the feet, against the cage, and on the ground. We’ll exchange fire from every position. I believe I’ll either knock him out or submit him.”

He continued, “I’m 30 now. This is supposed to be my peak. My plans for the future are to establish myself in the UFC, face top competition, and run my own academy. I hope to have a shot at the belt one day. I’d like to do the best I can for all the people who have encouraged me. I’d also like to set a good example for all the kids who follow my career. I think I’m on the right path.”


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