Later tonight, Kaleb Rideout will face Joseph Luciano in the main event of Eternal 74 on the Gold Coast, as Rideout looks to defend his welterweight title for the first time.
His first camp as champion has been a successful one, with his hunger to prove himself more present than ever, Rideout said.
‘Camp was unreal this year. I worked on a lot of new things. New strikes, new wrestling, new takedowns. I’m looking forward to showing it in the fight.’
‘In my eyes I’ve got the title, but the belts still up for grabs. It’s pretty much fifty-fifty so I’ve got to make sure I got that belt. If anything, it just motivates me even harder.’
Rideout is currently on a five-fight winning streak, with a total professional record of 7-2, with four wins by KO/TKO. Rideout accredits this five-fight tear to a break he took from fighting early on in his career, where he was able to focus on his mentality surrounding fighting after going 2-2 as a pro.
‘I done a lot, a lot of research on some motivational speakers. Mainly where I sat was in the military with the Navy Seals and the SAS, I was reading all their stuff, their mentality, pushing themselves to the next level, and then I sort of sat back myself and asked, “Do I wanna be the next world champion?” and I said to myself “Alright, let’s prove it.”’
‘If I felt like I couldn’t go any further, I’d push myself that bit further, and then as soon as I felt I couldn’t go further I’d push myself some more…By the time I came back I’d reinvented myself. I feel like I fell into my true form.’
This newfound push lead Rideout to evolve his MMA abilities, and move from being labeled as a brawler.
‘I call it stage fright. You get into the cage for the first time and get hit for that first time and lose everything you’ve been practicing. My whole amateur career people saw me as a brawler…When I got comfortable in the cage, when I turned pro and came back after being 2-2, I got real comfortable in the cage and started letting my true self out.’
Rideout’s ultimate goal in MMA is to become a world champion, and a successful title defense at Eternal 74 could bring him closer to that goal, although Rideout says his focus is solely on Joseph Luciano.
‘Joeys a really good opponent so I’m not taking him lightly…I let my management deal with that stuff, they are saying they’ve got some really good things for me in the pipeline.’
This is the last fight on Rideout’s Eternal contract, and if a move to the UFC isn’t in the immediate future, Rideout says he’s happy to continue to fight around Australia.
‘This is my last fight on my Eternal contract so I’m essentially a free agent…Hopefully [Eternal] does resign me because if [they don’t] anyone who’s holding a welterweight belt be scared, cause I’m coming.’
Eternal 74 will broadcast live tonight on the UFC FightPass, starting at 9PM AEST.