Dennis Bermudez submitted Clay Guida during a featherweight bout at...

Dennis Bermudez submitted Clay Guida during a featherweight bout at a UFC on Fox event in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, July 26, 2014. Credit: AP

Fight week can test a mixed martial artist almost as much as the fight itself.

From cutting weight to dozens of media obligations, from focusing on the fight to getting pulled in different directions by handlers, fans and others.

Amid the buzz that grows with each passing day, UFC featherweight Dennis Bermudez never wavers.

"He's Dennis,'' said trainer Keith Trimble of Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. "Nothing changes.''

Until fight night when that cage door locks and it's time to test himself physically, and mentally, against his opponent.

"When I get into the cage, it's like, 'Awww, I get to use my skills, I get to fight,'' said Bermudez, who lives in West Islip. "It's like a dog out of a cage, or a tiger.''

Waiting for Bermudez on the other side of that cage Saturday at UFC 180 in Mexico City will be Ricardo Lamas. Coming with Bermudez will be an impressive seven-fight win streak.

In the past 30 months, Bermudez (15-3, 7-1 UFC) has grown steadily from a wrestler who lost in the finale of "The Ultimate Fighter'' to a well-rounded featherweight ranked No. 7 in the UFC.

He has done so with an exciting style, one who keeps pressure on an opponent by always trying to move forward. And one who now is starting to draw attention after he submitted well-known veteran Clay Guida in July.

"He's been tearing it up,'' UFC president Dana White said. "To be honest with you, he's one of my favorite fighters to watch. I love watching this kid fight. His hands are really getting good now, his wrestling has always been great. He's coming into his own now.''

The difference in Bermudez now compared with then comes down to one word: confidence.

With each win, it grows. From the first one -- a unanimous decision over Pablo Garza in May 2012 -- to that thrilling split decision over Matt Grice in February 2013 to a pair of stoppages in 2014. Should his streak reach eight on Saturday against the fourth-ranked Lamas (14-3, 5-1), his confidence will be sky high.

"A lot of my goals, just the thought of achieving them, almost is bone chilling and gives me a natural high,'' Bermudez said. "Then when I complete them, it's like, 'OK, next goal.' When I hit my minor goals, it lets me know I'm on track for my major goal, which is winning a world championship.''

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