DETROIT -- One year ago, Gerald Harris made a call that changed his life. He called into MMA Junkie Radio while UFC president Dana White was a guest. Harris, an alumnus of the seventh season of "The Ultimate Fighter," pranked White but then had a good conversation about getting back to the UFC. By January, he was TKOing John Salter at Ultimate Fight Night 20.
But the middleweight insists that he's the same guy.
"All this stuff doesn't define me," Harris told Cagewriter. "I'm trying to build a legacy, become a legend in the UFC. A lot of guys get caught up in the hype and forget who they are as a person."
He has tweaked his preparation a bit recently, as he worked at Grudge Training Center with Trevor Wittman as well as with his home gym, Ghost Dog in Oklahoma.
In 2010, he has TKO or KO wins over Salter, Mario Miranda and David Branch. This weekend, he is facing Maiquel Falcao, a newcomer to the UFC. This is the fourth time that he is fighting a UFC newbie, but he says not to underestimate the Brazilian.
"This guy's tough. Anyone with 25 wins, he's tough. People will say, who has he fought? I don't care. He's been better than 25 other guys," Harris said. "A lot of people are underestimating the new guys and thinking that I'm getting guys with UFC jitters, but if you saw the last guy I fought, David Branch, there was nothing nervous about him. He was trying to beat my head in."
Harris said that one of the best parts of fighting at UFC 123 is that he is sharing the card with his former TUF coach, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
"My biggest thing is being on the same card as my Rampage. He was my coach on TUF, then I lost, got cut, but now here I am on the same card as him."
Harris called Jackson a friend, and said that the two remained close well after the taping for TUF had ended. He always knew he could get to this level and is enjoying the little things about being there.
"I knew I was capable of it, but to be here is amazing. I'm signing posters, looking at Machida thinking, "I always want to be you on the video game."
And whether he is co-main eventing with his mentor or fighting the first preliminary bout, Harris does not intend to change everything that has gotten him to this point in his career.
"Even when I'm fighting for the title or I am the champion, I'm going to keep the same attitude. Stay humble and stay hungry. A fight is a fight."