Though Chad Laprise won The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia, from his time in the house to his final bout, he faced adversity, but he came through the experience a stronger fighter.
“It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through,” Laprise told MMAWeekly.com. “I think the hardest thing was being away from my family and not having any contact with anybody.
“I knew that was the biggest opportunity of my life and knew I had to make the most of it. I went in there with one goal, and that was winning, and nothing was going to stop me. I’m super-blessed to be the winner and it’s changed my whole life.”
After several weeks in the house and waiting for the series to run its course on television, Laprise finally got to step into the famed Octagon for the first official time at the TUF finals against Olivier Aubin-Mercier in April and came out with a split-decision victory.
“We’re actually good friends and teammates at Tristar Gym in Montreal, so I knew how tough and talented he was and knew it would be no cakewalk,” said Laprise of Aubin-Mercier. “He’s a phenomenal grappler, so I worked on my takedown defense and fought the perfect game plan. The whole time I was to stick and move, stuff the takedown, and pick him apart on the feet.
“Obviously I would have liked the knockout, but I definitely feel I won all three rounds and I’m happy with my performance.”
Laprise (8-0) will make his return to the UFC on Saturday in Halifax, Canada, against fellow up-and-comer Yosdenis Cedeno (10-3) in a feature welterweight showdown.
“It’s one of the first times I’m going to be fighting a striker and a guy who will stand there and bang with me,” said Laprise of his bout against Cedeno. “I’m always fighting these guys who are trying to take me down.
“He’s got a very awkward style: he does a lot of spinning kicks and switches up his stances and is definitely a little tricky. I’m excited to get in there and mix it up with him. He’s going to bring the fireworks and so am I.”
With what he’s accomplished so far in the UFC, Laprise knows his future is bright, but he’s focused on UFC Fight Night 54 and taking each step as it comes.
“I’m undefeated in my career, coming off TUF, and I’m the third to last fight of the night, so the UFC is definitely expecting big things from me,” said Laprise.
“I definitely have to win and after this I should get a bigger name guy. I’m not looking past (Cedeno) at all. First thing’s first, I have to take care of things on Saturday night.”