The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 6, 2013

MMA: Ex-Bloom wrestler hopes for title fight


Daily Item

---- — By Todd Stanford

For The Daily Item

Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez is slowly but surely climbing up the UFC's featherweight ladder. Should he pull off another win tonight, the former Bloomsburg University wrestler could be on the cusp of the organization's top 10 list in the division.

Bermudez, 26, meets Steven Siler tonight as part of the UFC's "Fight for the Troops" card at Fort Campbell, Ky. (The action starts at 5 on Fox Sports 1.) "Siler's a tough guy," Bermudez says. "One thing I like about him is, he'll fight anybody."

Since entering the UFC as part of the promotion's reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter," Bermudez has gone 4-1 (he's 11-3 for his career). He lost his first fight against Diego Brandao in the show's championship finale, but Bermudez has rolled off four wins since. A win over Siler would make it five in a row -- quite an accomplishment in the biggest MMA promotion in the world -- and almost certainly mean a shot against a big-name opponent in his next bout.

"I would imagine so," Bermudez says when asked if a top-10 fighter could be on the horizon for him. "We originally had a top 10 guy (Nik Lentz, currently ranked 8th in the world by sherdog.com) lined up. But due to the roster and other top 10 contenders, they matched him up with another guy. They then matched me up with Steven, which is fine."

Siler (23-10), a California native who fights out of Utah, is on a roll himself. The 26-year-old has won five of his past six fights, including a 50-second KO of former WEC featherweight champ Mike Thomas Brown in his last outing.

"He'll stand in the pocket and throw," Bermudez says of Siler. "I just think I'm a little bit more than he can chew."

Although his wrestling pedigree got him into MMA, Bermudez -- who trains at Long Island MMA in his native New York -- is a powerful striker who puts on crowd-pleasing fights.

"I don't do it necessarily intentionally," he says. "I just want to get after it and get the win. My style is to go in there and break a guy mentally and physically...It's high-intensity. That's why people watch fights."