Joey Beltranmight not be sure who would play him, but he definitely feels like he's in a movie all of a sudden.
And now, he says, "I've just got to go out and get that storybook ending."
Beltran (14-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) was cut by the UFC after a January loss to Lavar Johnson. But after just one fight away, he's back – and with the kind of changes he hopes will rejuvenate his career.
After a 1-4 run at heavyweight that included losses to
Matt Mitrione, Pat Barry, Stipe Miocic and Johnson, who handed him the first knockout loss of his career, Beltran decided to make the drop to light heavyweight – and the move paid instant dividends, not just physically, but in the quick return to the UFC.
"I love it. I feel way better, just in my day-to-day life. Less pain in the joints, I'm way more nimble, I move a lot better, I move a lot faster. I'm excited," Beltran recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "My come-forward warrior spirit is always going to be there. That's never going to change. But I'm definitely going to be able to pull out a couple of new tricks on July 11."
In April, Beltran picked up a win in his light heavyweight debut, outpointing Anton Talamante for C3 Fights. And that earned him a quick return call from the UFC, who wanted him to replace Brandon Vera against James Te Huna (14-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at UFC on FUEL TV 4.
And even crazier, Beltran said, he'll return to the UFC in the co-main event of a free TV card. His fight against Johnson at UFC on FOX 2 was near curtain-jerker status – the second fight on Facebook, and not even in a guaranteed TV spot.
Joey Beltransnuck in the back door and is the co-main event – that's the most hilarious part of this story to me," Beltran said. "So we're going to go out there (and) we're going to put on a show. There's definitely going to be fireworks. It's made for the movies right now."
The "put on a show" part, Beltran is certain about. "The Mexecutioner" said Te Huna is the kind of fighter he'd be a fan of – if he wasn't fighting him.
Te Huna, a New Zealander who lives in Australia, has back-to-back first-round knockouts of
Ricardo Romeroand Aaron Rosa, the latter of which took place in Sydney this past March. He's been on Beltran's radar, but he'll put any possible fandom to the side next week.
"He's actually got a pretty fan-friendly style, so I would imagine it's going to be a pretty crazy fight," Beltran said. "If I wasn't fighting him, I would watch him fight. If he was on a pay-per-view, I would want to watch him fight. That's the plan – (to have a Te Huna fan beat up Te Huna)."
UFC on FUEL TV 4 takes place July 11 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The card is headlined by a middleweight contenders bout between
Mark Munozand Chris Weidman. Beltran-Te Huna serves as the co-main event. Main-card bouts air live on FUEL TV, while prelims are expected for a Facebook stream.