“I will beat him Bam Bam style, nice and quick”.
Quite the statement from 24-year-old heavyweight Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa who makes his octagon debut at UFC Sydney this weekend.
A former Sydney Roosters junior, Tuivasa decided to leave a promising rugby league career simply because he loves to fight.
“I love the blue” Tuivasa said.
“I like the fact that at the end of the day, I am the one getting in the ring.
“If I’m f**king up or being lazy, I’m going to get my head punched in, if I’m doing something wrong, I’m going to cop it.
“I like the freedom, at the end of the day we get in the ring and punch people’s heads, ya can’t put a name on that”.
A love of fighting like no other, turns out the young man from western-Sydney is quite good at it too.
Tuivasa holds a 5-0 professional record with all the wins coming via KO or TKO in the first-round.
His most recent win over veteran James McSweeny in the Australian Fighting Championship got Tuivasa the call up to the big show. However, a knee injury meant he was forced to wait on the side-lines for a year before he could make his debut in the octagon.
“I am more than ready for this; it’s been a long time sitting at home doing nothing” he said.
A training partner of Mark Hunt and brother-in-law to UFC light heavyweight Tyson Pedro, Tuivasa is not unaccustomed to the bright lights of the UFC, despite this weekend being the first time he fights in the octagon.
“They have given me good advice. I also have first-hand experience from being in the corner and seeing the lights and that kind of stuff” he said.
In an ageing division where the athletes often don’t peak until they are in their 30’s, Tuivasa sees himself as the type of fighter that will be in the UFC for the long haul.
With Mark Hunt as a mentor, it’s a dream for of Tuivasa’s to have a career as decorated as his.
“I back my ability, I think I’m good enough to fight the best. I’ve been learning from one of my mentors (Mark Hunt) who is the best and someone I look up to a lot.
“Twenty-two years as one of the best fighters in the world, that’s a goal of mine and that’s the dream for sure”.
The start of the dream begins this Sunday when he squares of against American fighter Rashad Coulter.
UFC Fight Night 121 takes place this Sunday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.
My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook. I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.