After 540 days out of the cage, Jack Lyons will be making his return to mixed martial arts competition when he takes on Max Kelly at Hex 28 on the 18th on November at Festival Hall in Melbourne.
Lyons has been forced to take time away from professional competition due to a hand injury he suffered at the end of 2022 and after over a year away from the cage, Lyons says he is excited to be so close to stepping back in to the action.
“I’ve been training consistently still, over that time, but to actually have something to work towards and have a goal at the end of it is good. It’s extra motivating. It gives me a fire under my ass to put the extra hard yards in and show them that I’m back.” He said.
“There’s no worries at all, [my hand is] stronger than ever and I’m ready to find a home for it, that’s for sure.”
Lyons has fought all of his professional MMA bouts at lightweight, his last fight being for the Demolition Lightweight title, however, he will be making his return in a catchweight bout against career-long welter weight Max Kelly. This is due difficulties in finding a lightweight opponent, Lyons said.
“As the fight date got closer, I was like ‘look, I just want to fight, get me on the card.’ So whatever option came we were like ‘yep, let’s do that’ and Max Kelly was also a good man and agreed to step up and we’ve agreed to a catchweight fight. So it works for me, it works for him, I’m just happy to get back in there and go again.”
Although on the side lines from competition, Lyons has kept working hard, running 51 marathons in 51 days at the start of the year to raise money for charity. Now being back in fight camp, his mindset towards his training and abilities have changed dramatically.
“They’re both physically brutal, but I think if anything, it’s also helped me strengthen myself as a fighter and a human as well. I’m able to push through those hard times. Obviously fight camp, it has it’s days where it’s hard and we just, like, ‘Ok, I just got to get through the day’ and those marathons in a sense translate to that. The hard days where you got to get up and get to sparring or whatever it is. Yeah just push through the hard days and worry about one day at a time.” He said.
His marathon challenge earnt him a young citizen award from his local council, as well as the ire of some of his coaches.
“They gave me a kick up the ass and said ‘you’re never doing nothing like that again.’…I’m very self-motivated in a sense. I like to do things on my own and things like that, but inside the gym I have a coach and I need them for my direction, so nothing’s changed in that sense. They still push me and I still listen to what they say…I’m very grateful for their guidance and that’s their role as a coach.”
In recent months, Lyons has become a full time fighter, focusing all his energy into his training and coaching. This change has been a large benefit to his mentality as a fighter he said, allowing him to be immersed in the fight world completely.
“it’s everything, it’s huge. I think it’s the perfect avenue for a fighter anyways. It’s allowed me to be around it more, have more time for my own training, I train two-three times a day. Even just being around it you pick little things and you see common things. It’s definitely different but I love it, it’s been the greatest thing I’ve done. I’m passionate about both sides of it, the coaching and training. I should have done it earlier.” He said.
Hex 28 will be Lyons debut with the promotion, as well as the promotions first event at festival hall in Melbourne, where a crowd of 3,5000 fans are expected to watch the fights. Although excited to return on a large stage, Lyons said his focus remains on putting on the best performance he can on the night.
“Honestly I hadn’t really done a great deal of research. I’m honestly tempted to just go down there and just like sus it…Dad said there’d been a few bands and a few good fighters there. I’m going to add to the list of good fights…I like the big venues and things like that, it’s exciting and I’ll embrace it all and everything and all the crowds.”