By no means is he assuming he’ll just stroll into the cage and run over Alhassan.

“I gotta do everything,” Malkoun said. “I gotta have a very good performance to win. If I come in and have an average performance, I’m not going to win. I’ve gotta come in, perform at my best and I’ll get the W.”

The extra added “umph” to training is something Malkoun felt in the aftermath of his last fight. He relied on his circle to help him bounce back and gear up for another go with a recommitted and rededicated mindset intact. All that’s left is the fight, and Malkoun reiterated a few times how much he just wants to “get it done” on fight night.

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It’s the words of a man young in his UFC career – and his MMA career as a whole – keen on showing who he is as a fighter on the biggest stage, motivated and molded by an early stumble. Learning to let a loss go instead of letting the dark thoughts fester is a lesson almost every competitor learns at one point or another, and now that Malkoun has that lesson out of the way, he’s locked in on his next opportunity.

“You learn, especially if it’s your first loss,” Malkoun said. “You learn from everything. You just gotta leave it behind you, and you gotta focus on the next thing. Can’t keep worrying about the past.”