Two months ago on the Gold Coast, Joseph Luciano captured the Eternal welterweight title in the main event, in a moment that Luciano says felt like ‘another day in the office’.
‘There’s quite a big build up in the lead to it and you know, you put a lot of pressure on yourself. When I actually finished Kaleb and they put the belt on me it felt…it wasn’t the feeling I thought it would be, it felt like another day in the office until I turned and looked at two of my teammates, Dylan and Sam, and Simon [Carson] my coach, and I saw two of the boys were getting emotional and I thought “Oh f**k, I’ve actually really achieved something here.”’ Said Luciano.
‘It’s nice to have something that represents that, and represents the hard work that not only myself, but those two boys and my coach put into me. We all know it, we all know the hard work that goes into it, but I suppose its nice to have that little cherry on top which is the title.’
Luciano is currently training at Absolute MMA in Thailand, alongside UFC fighters Jack Jenkins and Jimmy Crute, as well as grappling superstar Craig Jones. Luciano described training with Jones as an ‘eye opening’ experience.
‘We had Craig Jones camp out here about a month ago for two weeks, that obviously brought a lot of high-level guys from all around the world so having a roll with them was definitely eye opening…its true what they say about him, he’s f**king excellent and the guys he brought out were awesome too. This trip I’ve had a good basis of hitting all the ranges so that was cool, I’m not just doing Muay Thai.’
Luciano captured the title from former champion Kaleb Rideout via rear naked choke in the third round, extending his pro record to 8-1, with six finishes. Despite having five submission victories to his name, Luciano is still not interested in being called a ‘jiu jitsu guy’.
‘Submission grappling I’ll take, but I’m definitely no jiu jitsu guy…I’m still gonna say submission grappling, what I’m doing’s not quite jiu jitsu just yet, I’m working on it though.’
Despite coming away from his title winning performance with little-to-no damage, Luciano is still looking to improve his skills in the cage.
‘I think I could get a two second KO, a 15 second submission, and I would still be discontent. That is the curse, not only a curse cause it has its benefits, of being someone who wants to achieve as high as they can’ Said Luciano.
‘Two or three weeks after a fight I’m in a pretty self-reflective headspace and a little bit disappointed in myself, even when I won the Eternal title and didn’t really get punched or hit…maybe it comes across as a bit bitter but its not, its just me being hard on myself and wanting to put forward the best performance, most exciting performance, finishing performance, dominant performance I can.’
Luciano is a veteran of IMMAF tournaments and has fought all over the world both as an amateur and a pro. Being able to capture his first professional title in Australia is something that Luciano is very appreciative of.
‘It’s really lovely to fight in Australia and make my mark in Australia…this is my home, it’s always been my home, I love my country, so it’s nice when I’m an old, decrepit, hopefully not punch drunk, old dude coaching people, they go “oh yeah he was the Eternal champ, and then he went on to bigger and better things too, but that was where he made his stamp in Oz.”’
Those ‘bigger and better things’ may be on the horizon, as Luciano received an offer from ONE championship to appear on Friday Fights in Thailand, however, the Australian remains focused on joining his teammate Jack Jenkins in the UFC.
‘I got an offer to fight on ONE in Lumpinee. It would be pretty full circle to go there and fight MMA considering I hated MMA and wanted to fight Muay Thai. But my goal is, and always has been since I’ve fought MMA, is the UFC…That’s the aim, that’s the goal, so whatever I’ve gotta do to get there, that’s what I want.’
‘I think there’s rumours that [The UFC] are fighting and having a show in Sydney at the end of the year, that’d be cool, [Dana White’s Contender Series] would be cool. If none of that happens I wanna defend the Eternal strap and really cement my place and be undeniable.’