On March 16, 2013, Patrick Cote will take on Bobby Voelker in “must-win” fight for the French-Canadian. A few different factors have contributed to Patrick Cote’s massive fall from grace. The first is the most obvious: his knee essentially exploded while taking on Anderson Silva at UFC 90. He suffered a torn meniscus and didn’t look like the same fighter when he took on Alan Belcher almost a year and a half later. Belcher was able to submit Cote with ease at UFC 113.

Knee surgeries are extremely expensive and follow up procedures were not covered by the UFC’s medical coverage at the time. It is easy to see how difficult it can be for a full time fighter like Cote, who doesn’t make a lot of money, to pay for repeated surgeries and training time, all without making a dime from the UFC. When he returned, he was not mentally or physically prepared. After his loss to Belcher he then dropped a unanimous decision to Tom Lawlor at UFC 121 and was cut by the UFC.

Weight issues followed Cote in his second return to the UFC. He sported a noticeable gut in his bout against Cung Le and fans were forced to wonder how seriously he took his training. He lost a winnable bout and it was back to the drawing board for Cote.

It is easy to simply assume that without his knee injury his career would have been much more successful. On the other hand, it is important to remember the only reason he got his title shot against Anderson Silva was because of a split decision victory over Ricardo Almeida, who was not the most impressive contender. His run of victories before his shot was padded by favorable matchmaking. He faced fighters like Kendall Grove and Drew McFedries. Their styles matched up very favorably to Cote’s granite chin and powerful hooks.

Aside from that four fight win streak, Cote has always been an up-and-down fighter. The only reason he was on the fourth season of the Ultimate Fighter was because he had been cut from the UFC a year prior because of his inconsistencies.

Cote certainly has had an interesting career. His knee injury served to shove his career off the rails; ultimately, I think Cote is what he always has been: a good, not great fighter who has had trouble overcoming a devastating knee injury.

What do you think fight fans? Get at me @samgenovese on Twitter.