by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Public perception can mean the world in mixed martial arts. Regardless of how well a fighter may perform throughout their career, unless they do so on a national stage with the attention of the sport on them, they very well may be disregarded.

Such is the case of former “Ultimate Fighter 3” cast member and World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Jesse Forbes. Inability to shine when the camera has been focused on him has him in need of a big win on a big stage, lest he be relegated to undercard status.

So with this Friday’s Maximum Fighting Championships show in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada being broadcast live on Mark Cuban’s HDNet comes an opportunity to Forbes to shed any misconceptions about him truly belonging in the biggest shows in MMA.

“It’s pretty important for me to perform,” said Forbes. “I took the loss in the TUF Series Finale, then I took a loss in the WEC, so yeah it’s pretty important for me to shine in the limelight for my career.

“All around I just need to show everybody that I have the skill it takes to be a champion. Obviously going around everywhere and doing that would be the key, whether it’s the United States or Canada.”

With one win already in 2008 (over Victor Moreno at MTX Fight Night in Las Vegas on Jan. 8), he brings a lot of personal momentum into Friday’s bout against up-and-coming Chris Camozzi of Colorado.

“I’ve been training about six weeks for this and I trained six weeks for my fight in January, so I’ve been training through since then. I’m ready to rock,” exclaimed Forbes.

When asked if he feels his experience on bigger shows could be an advantage over his opponent, he replied, “I think it’s going to help me a little bit, but not a whole lot.

“The kid (Camozzi) is coming to fight, like everybody that steps in the cage, they come to fight. So I don’t expect the limelight to really get to him. It might at first, but once the cage doors shut everybody snaps into their fight mode.”

And once the cage doors close, what does Forbes expect?

“We’ll stand up, as long as I’m winning up there, we’ll stay there,” he said with a chuckle. “We’ll stand up, feel him out, hit him a little bit and if I feel I can capitalize there, we’ll stay there.

“If not, we’ll take it to the ground; if I’m not winning there, we’ll take it back up. I’m just going to feel him out, see what he does and go from there.”

As Forbes explains, he’s come a long way over the last few years and fans can expect to see a more rounded fighter this Friday as compared to previous outings.

“I think that I’m coming in great shape and ready to fight,” commented Forbes. “Earlier in my career I was kind of nervous, just feeling guys out and I only had the wrestling skills. Now I have all the skills: ground, wrestling, and stand-up.

“I think you always have to keep learning, no matter who you are. So they’ll see a complete game, that I can take the fight anywhere, with good conditioning and (I’m) ready to rock.”

Jesse knows that he has to make a stand now, should he continue to be under consideration for bigger shows, and that is his main focus for the remainder of this year.

“For me, I need to get a win in a big show,” said Forbes. “I need to get a win under the limelight, to kind of get myself stationary in one of the bigger shows, whether it be HDNet, WEC, wherever.

“So if I win here, this will definitely put me back to where I want to be, and go from there.”

Jesse Forbes has had opportunities to shine as a part of “The Ultimate Fighter 3” and in the WEC. He must do well this Friday for the MFC in Edmonton if he is intent on continuing to be able to get exposure on the national stage.

“I need to thank LG Sports Marketing, who manage me; and MTX Audio, my main sponsor,” closed out Forbes. “To all my fans, just watch and see the progression I’ve made in my fight game, and enjoy the fight.”