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Undefeated Paris Artis aiming for CFFC title, chance to fulfill lifelong dream

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Paris Artis has been nothing short of spectacular in his professional MMA career. Five fights, five wins, five finishes. Flawless. The 27-year-old says it's no accident.

Artis has prepared for this path since he was a child, working with his family, initially, to instill a mindset of ensuring judges would play no role in the outcome of his career. He remembers laying the groundwork for his approach as a teenager, when Lyoto Machida was granted a much-debated decision win over Lyoto Machida at UFC 104.

"I want to go out there and I want to make it a 'for sure' thing to win, you know what I mean?" Artis asked. "I never, ever wanted to leave it in the hands of judges, and that's something that me and my grandpa, I was talking to him when I was younger, we just noticed. Even my uncle here in North Carolina, it was just something that we would always talk about – you know, never leave it in the hands of the judges because anything can happen."

Artis has been successful in his approach thus far, but he was pushed to the limit in his most recent outing, working deep into the third round before he was able to lock in a submission win over a very game Feraris Golden.

After finding viral success in his previous outing, Artis said the result was a valuable reminder to never take anything for granted.

"The guy I was going against was super tough," Artis said. "I probably shouldn't have judged the book by its cover. But yeah, I'm glad I actually got to go against him because I felt like he propelled my levels to places that I probably should have been to before. He taught me a lot. I've added some things to my game now because of him so I can excel, get better.

"You have to keep training, stay disciplined on everything – not just one part of the game just because you think he might be weak somewhere. Stay disciplined all around, because he actually came out and surprised me a lot."

Artis was rewarded for his efforts and will now challenge for the CFFC lightweight title, headlining Thursday's CFFC 106 event, which streams live on UFC FIGHT PASS from Florida's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. Artis (5-0) meets reigning champion Blake Smith (6-2), who claimed the title in September and is now seeking the first defense of his title.

Artis says he's been impressed by what he's seen of Smith thus far.

"I think he's a cool dude," Artis said. "I've seen a couple of videos on him. Cool dude, got a lot of experience, pretty well-rounded. Nothing bad to say about him. I'm happy that this is a challenge, and I'm just taking it as that."

But Artis is also taking this matchup as an opportunity, one that he hopes will propel him to the next level. His life ambition has been to compete under the UFC banner, and while he's broadening his horizons to consider other major promotions in the space, as well, he's hoping that capturing the CFFC belt will get him an invitation to the next stage.

"I'm just going to go out there, and I know I have a gameplan to finish him, get it done," Artis said. "Grab the belt, and hopefully, hopefully, hopefully praying I get a big call or get the call. Really, that's what this is all for, so I can get to where I want to be and do everything or be everything that I wanted to be since I was a kid."

Fighters that wrap CFFC belts around their waist tend to get those calls sooner rather than later, and Artis' sparkling career record sure won't hurt his chances. But Smith is chasing similar dreams, so nothing will be given easily. It's up to Artis to deliver when it matters most.

"I'm just trying to get the belt, honestly," Artis said. "If I get a finish, that's a bonus for me. Really, I've been working hard, so hopefully I get that finish, but if I can just get the win and take the belt, that'll be a good thing for me to hopefully get some recognition. Not saying CFFC is bad or anything, but I'm ready to be at the top level. I'm prepared."

This story first published at CFFC.tv.