by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Long-time journeyman fighter Joe Doerksen will officially hit ‘50′ when he steps into the Octagon this weekend. No, he isn’t taking life lessens from Randy Couture or Dan Severn, the ‘50′ in this case is instead referring to his remarkable number of professional fights.

At only 30-years-of-age, Doerksen already holds an impressive pro record of 39-10. He is unquestionably one of the most active mixed martial arts fighters today and he has been involved a number of engaging fights throughout his extensive career. His fights with Patrick Cote, Chris Leben, Ed Herman and Joe Riggs were all fights that, regardless of wins or losses, were exciting.

What’s more, he has fought some of the best competition the sport has to offer. He has stepped into either a ring or a cage with men like: Matt Hughes, Lee Murray, David Loiseau, Denis Kang, Matt Lindland, Nate Marquardt and Paulo Filho, just to name a few.

Before dropping his last fight to the previously mentioned Filho – who is MMAWeekly.com’s No. 2 ranked middleweight in the world – Doerksen was riding the wave of a seven-fight win streak.

When the Ultimate Fighting Championship contacted him and asked if he could fill in on late notice to replace the injured Dave Terrell at UFC 78 in New Jersey, Doerksen jumped at the chance.

Doerksen said, “It’s just good timing, I suppose. I’m not always training, but I started training three weeks before I got the call because I expected that I’d probably be fighting in December or January, so I was getting back into it, but I never really get too far out of shape.”

He continued, “I’ve been training the whole time the last couple of months. I’ve been on and off, training with different people and traveling around a little bit … I’m never really more than two or three weeks away from getting into pretty decent shape.”

Though he has fought under the Zuffa blanket recently (in the WEC), he has not fought in the UFC since March of 2006, and he is excited to get back to the big time.

“You know, I was really excited when I got offered this one. I jumped at it. With Filho, I wasn’t happy that I lost, but it was a good fight, things went well,” said Doerksen. “We stuck to the game plan and things went well until I got caught, so it’s not like I feel I didn’t belong in there with him. I just felt like I got hit with a good punch and that happens to everybody sooner or later. And, after 49 or 50 fights, it’s going to happen to me too, I guess.

“I’m not real discouraged with that loss. I’d rather have won, but looking back, I was happy with the way the fight went and it’s been three months since I fought and I’m itching to go again. The call came at the perfect time.”

In his upcoming fight, he is tasked with facing Ed Herman, an opponent who he submitted three years ago.

“I fought him in his hometown in the main event of Sport Fight in front of three thousand of his fans and I still managed to beat him, so I’m feeling pretty good about my chances the second time around as well,” Doerksen said.

He believes that he has improved in all aspects of the fight game in the three years since his victory over Herman, and he expects the outcome Saturday to be similar to when the two first met.

He said, “Well, you know it’s a whole new fight and both of us have changed a little bit since then. I just feel that my style of fighting has kind of become much more well-rounded, and the last few fights I saw him do, I didn’t see a lot of big changes. I think his strategy’s going to be real similar to what it was three years ago and I think I’m a much more diverse, a much more versatile fighter than I used to be.”

His confidence is not cockiness, however, and he knows all too well that there are no sure things in MMA. Especially not in 2007, the quintessential year for upsets.

“I’m not going in there and thinking the fight’s already won, because things can happen, but I feel really good about my chances.”

One of things that fans speculate about is whether or not holding a win over a fighter causes one to underestimate his or her opponent in the rematch. It has been alleged many times that, statistically speaking, it is much harder for the winner of the first fight to win the rematch as well. Does the fact that he holds a win over Herman do anything to change Doerksen’s outlook for this fight?

“It gives me a little bit more confidence knowing that I fought the guy before and I beat him before, so it really won’t be anything new. It’s just now we’re fighting in front of a few more cameras and a few more people, but that’s kind of a good thing for me at this point.”

…and his feelings on Herman’s thoughts about the rematch?

“To be honest, I really don’t care how he feels about it,” said Doerksen. “I haven’t seen him in three years and probably won’t see him for three more, so I’m just going to go in there and fight him and when it’s over I’m going to go home and have a cheeseburger and a beer.”