A hungry Efrain Escudero is looking to earn his way back to the big show. Photo credit: Spike TV

The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner, Efrain Escudero (17-2) is fighting his way back to the top one battle at a time. The former UFC fighter will step back in the cage Friday night at Tachi Palace Fights 9 to face fellow ex-UFC lightweight, Fabricio “Morango” Camoes (11-5-1).

Escudero is currently on a three fight win streak and has been plowing full steam ahead since his cut from the UFC last fall following a third round loss to Charles Oliveira, in which the former TUF winner failed to make weight for the 155 pound bout.

“I’m looking to the future and just want to carry myself as a professional,” Escudero told ProMMAnow.com correspondent Susan Cingari.

“He’s not taking anything for granted,” said his MMA LAB training partner, Ben Henderson who himself is coming off a win over Mark Bocek last weekend at UFC 129 in Toronto, Canada.

“People always talk of doing whatever it takes to win a fight while in the cage, it’s too late then. It’s about doing whatever it takes, to get better and your hand raised the six months before your fight. For ‘Effy’ that means driving an hour to practice twice a day, practicing consistently, eating properly and all of those little things. And guess what, he’s been doing all of those little things,” said Henderson.

“He’s ready,” said MMA LAB head coach and top level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor John Crouch, who is well known for his vigorous style of teaching.

“Efrain is a better wrestler, his strength is definitely in his ground game and he’s pretty good on his feet, so I think we have a little bit of an advantage standing up,” said Crouch. “Weve trained really hard and we’re going to go out there and win this fight.”

Mexican born, Ecsudero is the first member of his family to graduate from high school and he is a strong believer in being a role model to others, even taking time out from his busy pre–fight schedule to speak with students and athletes at Selma High School last night.

“I want to give back to the community and push young athletes to focus on their education as well as their athletic abilities because it will make them a better person overall and give them a back up plan for later in life. Even after signing with the UFC, I continued my education getting a degree in criminal justice,” said Escudero.

For now though, the focus is on tomorrow night in what he hopes will be his fourth win in a row.

“My momentum is up now, we gotta put all records aside, we gotta go in there fighting hungry all the time. We’ve been doing our homework. We’ve been doing our tasks busting our butts every day, day in and day out, tears and sweat, and it’s time to go out there and have fun. This is like a game of chess,” Escudero said.

“Efrain in BEAST mode as of late and on a war path to get back to those three little letters,” Henderson stated.

Hmm, did someone say check mate?

ProMMAnow.com will provide LIVE results and play-by-play commentary during Tachi Palace Fights 9. The action starts at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on Friday, May 6.

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