The former Ultimate Fighter competitor, who will return to action Tuesday in Virginia after almost a 10-month layoff, is happy to be back, but he makes no bones about it, he wants to be on the main card.
Tavares prides himself on being a fighter that fans want to see compete, but after his last bout in July 2011 against Aaron Simpson, he can understand why people weren’t cheering much.
“I felt a lot of my fans were robbed my last fight as far as expecting a good fight, and it was pretty boring,” Tavares said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “I went back and I watched the fight and it’s not something I would have enjoyed watching. I know Dongi is going to want to put on a good show and so am I.
“When I think about it like that, the pressure’s off. This guy wants to put on a good show. I’m not going to go fight a tree hugger or something like that.”
There is a certain anger in Tavares’ voice because he wants to show the UFC exactly what he’s all about as a fighter, like he did in his bout in early 2011 where he knocked out Phil Baroni.
Not every fight will be Fight of the Night material, but Tavares wants to approach every match-up like it could be.
“I want to be a main card fighter and eventually a main event fighter,” said Tavares. “I want to get off of these Facebook (fights). I want to get at least a televised prelim, the Fuel card itself or whatever it is.”
For his return to action next week, Tavares faces Korean fighter Dongi Yang, who has gone 1-2 thus far in his UFC career, but both losses were closely contested fights.
Tavares doesn’t want his bout with Yang to be close. He doesn’t even want it to be a dog fight. He wants to be the first person to finish Yang, collect his paycheck, maybe even a bonus, and then show the UFC that the next time he fights he belongs on the main card.
“I know Dongi is tough, but I still want to put him away,” Tavares stated. “I want to be the first person to stop him, the first person to finish him.
“That’s what I’m going to be looking for.”