Its been a long and, at times, bumpy road back to the UFC for Andrei Arlovski. Following a seven-plus year stint that saw the dangerous striker capture the UFC heavyweight championship, Arlovski opted to part ways with the worlds largest MMA organization after fulfilling his contract in early 2008. His strategy was simple in theory, but tough in execution: dispatch the top heavyweights outside the UFC and return to the negotiating table with increased bargaining power. Arlovskis new beginning got off to a hot start when he picked up consecutive knockout victories over Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson. Unfortunately for the Belarus native, his plan soon took a sharp nose dive. After a disastrous outing against Fedor Emelianenko in 2009 that saw him swatted out of mid-air like a fly during an ill-fated flying-knee attempt, Arlovski went on to lose his next three fights. In MMA youre often only as good as your last fight and Arlovski had now dropped four straight for the first time in his career. In the eyes of many, The Pit Bull was done. But Arlovskis fortunes would change once more, as he returned to the win column with a TKO victory over Ray Lopez in mid-2011. Since his skid ended hes now netted an impressive 6-1 (1 NC) record and subsequently earned his way back onto the UFC roster. On the cusp of his promotional return, Arlovski said his slump was an important learning experience. “I think everything happens for a reason,” Arlovski said. “Right now I have a lot of energy and fire in my eyes. Im just ready to fight hard and train hard. “If youre on top of the world, you have to train even harder than before because you can lose it in one minute. It was definitely a good life experience for me. Like I said, I have a lot of energy, Im still young and Im ready to start everything from the beginning again. “I knew I was going to be back in the UFC sooner or later. Im very excited its happened now.” Arlovski gets to reintroduce himself to UFC fans when he battles Brendan Schaub on the main card of UFC 174 in Vancouver Saturday. The show will be headlined by a flyweight championship bout between Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov. Not only does Arlovski have the opportunity to pick up his first win inside the octagon since UFC 82 over six years ago, he also aims to knock off a top-15 ranked heavyweight. With Schaub currently sitting in the No. 14 spot, Arlovski is determined to send a message to the rest of the weight class. “Its very important for me to have a very good start in my second debut in the UFC and I will do everything possible to beat Brendan,” Arlovski said. “The best thing about Brendan is that hes in front of me. Hes top 15 and Im not even top 25. So everybody whos in front of me is a very important fight for me.” A win over Schaub will certainly put Arlovski back on track in the ultra-competitive heavyweight division. Though he once wore UFC gold around his waist, hes not about to get ahead of himself. As much as Arlovski would love to fight for a belt again, he admits he has his work cut out for him before he can re-enter the title picture. “One step at a time,” Arlovski said. “I have to face Brendan Schaub and then afterwards its definitely going to be up to the UFC (who I fight next). “(The heavyweight division) was tough then and now its even tougher. Definitely the UFC has the best heavyweights in the world. Its awesome.” As with most heavyweight tilts, Arlovskis bout with Schaub carries the potential for a thrilling finish. In 45 combined fights, the two have only reached the judges scorecards a total of eight times. Though both fighters have excelled at putting opponents away, theyve also suffered their share of knockout losses over the years, causing some to question the strength of their respective chins. Arlovski immediately dismissed the notion, stating that one top fighter can put another to sleep on any given night. “If you land a good right, a good kick, or a good punch in the right place, anybody can be knocked out,” Arlovski said. “I think its all b------- about a weak chin or a glass chin. Its all about landing a hard punch in the right place. Definitely, I wont count on Brendan having a weak chin. “Brendan, hes definitely a very tough fighter. He has good jiu jitsu and is very dangerous on the ground. I just need to be ready.” Though Arlovski carries no illusions about how quickly a fight can turn sour, hes also no stranger to dishing out highlight-reel knockouts. 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