TUF 9 LogoDean Amasinger, a member of Team UK on this season of TUF, which continues on Spike TV tomorrow night, recently shared his opinion about British mixed martial arts and where the talent pool currently stands.

America are at the forefront of MMA and we had a lot to prove on the show. We had to prove that we couldn’t only hang with Americans but actually get the better of them. We Brits are always getting badmouthed on MMA forums and it was about time we were given the opportunity to show we’re not as bad as people make out. Even Mike Bisping gets a hard time from a lot of American fans and he’s been nothing but good for the sport.

I’m still very interested to see if the level of talent we see from the UK this season is really as good as the Brits have been saying it is, or if the talent selected to join the US squad has simply been watered down in an attempt to create more entertaining fights. As long as the focus is on entertaining fights this season, however, I can assure you that I’ll be the last one to complain.

Speaking of entertaining fights, UFC 97 is coming to you live from Montreal, Canada this Saturday night and features some very intriguing match-ups. After a long layoff from the UFC after some less than spectacular results, David Loiseau is set to return to the Octagon, and should be a fan favorite. One fan of ‘The Crow’s” is none other than UFC President Dana White.

Loiseau, he’s another one of my favorites. I love that kid. He’s such a nice guy. He went through a streak there in the UFC where he wasn’t really letting it all go and got some losses. Ed Herman’s a tough son of a bitch, man. Ed Herman’s mean, nasty and tough. If Loiseau can get by him, he deserves to be back in the UFC…. This guy trains with GSP, he’s talented as hell. He can kick, he can punch, he’s good on the ground. It’s just like he wasn’t letting it go for some reason. He’s still young, he’s in his prime. So we’ll see. Herman’s a mean bastard, man. If he can get through Herman, he’s back.

As for Ed Herman, he feels that his back is against the wall in this fight and is looking to come out and take care of business against Loiseau.

I think this is going to be a really exciting fight. Hopefully it’s Fight of the Night or Ass Whooping of the Night. I’m looking to finish him as fast as I can…I’ve lost two in a row and if I lose another fight, the UFC will probably cut me so I’m trying to keep my job. It’s rough times. It’s a bad economy, so I gotta keep my damn job so I can keep living. I respect Loiseau, but on the 18th, I’m going in there to beat his ass.

This is just one of the great match-ups being featured on the undercard at UFC 97, in addition to an Anderson Silva title defense and a chance at redemption (get it?) for both Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua. Check out the full card in our fight cards section.

Two competitors looking to come back from recent surgeries and jump start their careers are Tito Ortiz and Mirko Cro Cop. Though both men are seemingly past their prime in mixed martial arts, both are still strong box office draws and looking to remain in the spotlight.

I actually just got released from my doctor to start doing my weight training, which I’ve been doing the last seven days. I kind of need to hold myself back a bit because I want to go harder. But the doctor says, ‘Take your time, take your time.’ I’m six months out now. I’ve got about another month-and-a-half or two months and I can start wrestling again. I see ‘Babalu’ out here running around flapping his lips. That might be a pay-per-view fight. After the fight they’re going to be saying ‘Baba-who?’ I’m excited to get back in the cage and compete and give all of my fans the best that I do, [although] tonight was kind of a letdown, watching Frank (Shamrock) lose. I wanted that rematch, but the way he looked? Thanks, Nick. I appreciate it. It’s like watching money go out the window.

While Mr. Ortiz is eyeing a return later this summer, Cro Cop may be back as early as next month. He mentions Dream 9 as an ideal date for his return to action, though no opponent was mentioned.

I’m in a final stage of my career. I don’t know if that means I have three, five, 10 or 15 fights left, but I know one thing for sure … this is going to be the most productive part of my career. I’ve resolved in my head things that were bothering me. I had to answer the question do I still want to train so hard every day. And now I’m certain that I do. It’s not about the money anymore. I’ve made enough money throughout my career. I realized I don’t know how to live without fighting. And people who ask me why don’t I end my career with 35 years…well, maybe they didn’t have anything in their lives they were devoted to 100 percent. I’m just asking them to try to understand me, I can’t live without fighting. So please people, stop giving me advice to quit! I know one thing now, One day when I stop fighting — a part of me will certainly die. My recovery is going better than any doctor expected. I believe my first fight could be on DREAM 9.

It should be very interesting to see how these two stack up against the competition upon their respective returns. Cro Cop will be looking to return to his winning ways, while Tito will be looking to, well, simply return. Either way, it will be good to see these two back in action, whether you consider yourself a fan or not.

Also later in the summer, Thiago Silva will be looking to get back on the winning track after suffering his first professional defeat at the hands of Lyoto Machida at the five minute mark of the first round. While that win propelled Machida into a title shot after Rampage was unable to step up to the plate, the loss has sent Silva into a head-on collision with the former champion of the division, Forrest Griffin.

… the UFC has given me a good chance to recover my name. I’ll face a tough guy, I’ll give my best and train a lot. It will be a tough fight, sure, he’s a very good fighter, but I’m prepared. Anyone who knows me knows how I fight, I go for it and only on will be standing after the fight, for sure…. Caution, not to be nervous. I thought I wouldn’t be nervous with Lyoto, because he runs a lot, but in the first minute I was already pulling my hair off … I think patience is the key…. this revenge is what I want most in my life, brother.

It would appear that patience will be a key factor for Silva moving forward. Expect fireworks in this one as both men are coming off tough losses at the peak of the division and neither man will want to fall too far behind the rest of the pack. The light heavyweight division is always loaded and back-to-back losses can mean quite the long climb back to the top of the mountain.