These are the moments Roland Delorme will carry with him forever, long after his days in the octagon are done.
The proud Winnipegger won his UFC 161 bout with a unanimous decision over Edwin Figueroa of Texas in front of a jam-packed MTS Centre Saturday night, entering the cage to a standing ovation, hearing his name chanted by the diehard fans during his bout and then raising his arms in victory after the fight was done.
"I heard the ‘Rolly!’ chants," Delorme told a media scrum after the fight. "Maybe that’s what gave me that extra push to really get a ‘W.’ I haven’t fought in my hometown for three years so it felt good.
"Today is euphoric for me. It feels like my career has come full-circle. I started fighting in Winnipeg at the Convention Centre way back in the day in front of 1,500 people, now I got to fight in front of 15,000 people at the MTS Centre."
Delorme, who took a year off to recover from elbow surgery, improved his record to 9-1 while Figueroa fell to 9-3. A St. Norbert father of a two-year-old daughter, Delorme already had plans to celebrate the victory.
"How do I enjoy this? I get to go out and have a few beers now," he said. "That’s how I’m going to enjoy it.
"I tried to stay calm as much as possible but at the same time it’s hard. It’s hard when you walk out into your hometown and they’re screaming your name and the crowd’s roaring. That’s a feeling I’m never going to forget. If I never get it again, that’s something I’m never going to forget. That’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my career and my life."