Thales Leites felt what it was like to compete for the UFC championship.

just a few short months later, though, Leites was out of the promotion completely.

Now, after winning six of his last seven fights, Leites will look to continue his climb back to contention when he faces Tom Watson tonight at UFC 163.

“I got my mind straight,” said Leites, during a recent interview with the UFC. “I see that (the release) was good for me because I’m more mature, more confident in myself and everything is better ow.”

Leites was unable to defeat Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title, falling via decision and having his five-fight win streak snapped in the process.

“I can’t change the past,” he admitted, “but I can build a new future. I’m older, stronger mentally and physically, more confident, mature, well-trained; everything is better now.”