C.B. Dollaway has spent the past six years competing inside the Octagon. Next week, he’ll get his chance at making a statement when he squares off with Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 58.

Dollaway (15-5), a former Ultimate Fighter runner-up, has won two straight and is 4-1 in his last five. The lone setback during his current run came via split decision to Tim Boetsch.

In Machida, the ex-Arizona State University wrestling All-American will be meeting his first former UFC champion and most notable opponent to date. He explained during a recent interview with Submission Radio what the fight means to his career.

“I was actually pretty excited, you know I’ve been wanting a main event fight, a big high profile fight, and get in there and test myself against one of the best guys in the world,” Dollaway said. “And as far as that goes, he’s one of the best guys in the sport right now. He’s a former world champion, defended his belt once at light heavyweight, and he just fought for the world title. So this is the kind of guy I think when I get a victory over him gets me an argument for a world title fight.”

Being a former wrestler like Chris Weidman, the reigning middleweight champion who defeated Machida earlier this year, Dollaway plans to follow a similar game plan.

“Obviously if you look at the Chris Weidman fight it did give him a lot of trouble when Chris was able to take him down, get on top. Also you know my boxing is getting pretty good,” he said. “I’ve been spending a lot of time with my boxing coach and I feel confident if I catch Lyoto with a punch I can put him to sleep. You know my punching power is there with both hands. Obviously he’s not easy to hit, but we’ve been working on a lot of things, a lot of good head movement to get out of the way and avoid his counter strikes and land some strikes of my own. And really the key is to be able to just mix everything up.

“That’s my game plan, but you know I gotta get out there and just be a mixed martial artist. I gotta kind of be thinking takedown, or am I gonna punch, or am I gonna kick, or am I gonna try to submit him. Just wherever the fight goes I’ve gotta be a mixed martial artist and apply everything.”

The middleweight division is filled with contenders at the moment, but Dollaway feels a win will help him leap to the front of the pack.

“I think I deserve a title shot,” he said. “Going back to that Tim Boetsch fight where a lot people know I won that fight. So if that didn’t happen with the split decision bull crap, this would be the third victory over a Top-10 opponent. (There’s) some good finishes there and some good fights, you know people, they’re seeing (that) I’m an exciting fighter.

“I think people would like to see me get in there and mix it up with whoever comes out on top in February, because I think I’ve earned it.”