Priscus “The Tassie Devil” Fogagnola’s TUF dreams thwarted by surge in female division

Middleweight Priscus Fogagnola has a 10-1-0 pro record with all ten victories by stoppage and his only defeat coming at the hands of Aussie UFC veteran James Te Huna in 2009. After a trio of submission wins on the local circuit in 2016, the decorated grappler, hungry for a step up in competition, set his sights on Vegas and try outs for The Ultimate Fighter Season 26. His hopes, for the time being at least, were dashed by a call from UFC HQ, as Foganola recounts.

“I was all geared up, you know, I want to make a strong bid to get into the UFC so I thought that if I don’t make an investment, I’m never going to know whether I’m going to get in, so I bought my ticket and bought my accommodation for a week over there [in Vegas} and then they contacted me last week and they said that they’ve got a really strong response from the females for Season 26 and so they’re not going to need a middleweight division.”

Like a heavy overhand right to the jaw, Fogagnola took the hit to his hip-pocket with poise.

“I’m only out of pocket 600 bucks in the end so not too bad.”

TUF glory has been within “The Tassie Devil’s” grasp once before in 2014.

“I made first reserve for the Nations: Australia vs. Canada TUF series and yes I had a quite a good experience there and was hoping to go one step better this time and actually get into a house.”

Getting so close to where he wanted to be ignited a fire in his belly.

“[I saw] the things that could be and the possibility of fighting guys that want to test themselves as well. I’m a guy that loves a challenge and I was looking forward to guys on a good competitive level and really pushing myself, and obviously the UFC is where that’s going to happen.”

One of the top ranked middleweights in the region, the 34 year-old knows that he is in the mix for bigger things but that he might need to keep working hard to stand out from the pack.

I have been contacted twice in the last twelve months by the UFC to do no notice stuff but for whatever reasons, I know I’m in that stack of papers but I just need to get a bit of experience to make myself more appealing.

In the interim, the multiple time national champion in Judo, BJJ and wrestling continues to decorate his trophy room, recently adding more medals to his collection.

“I got bronze in the freestyle National Championships and gold in the Greco just the weekend gone, in the wrestling nationals, so I’m still active and I still try to push myself.”

Having lost four years to injury between 2012 and 2016, Fogagnola is resurgent and ready to unleash a whirlwind in the middleweight division, both at home and abroad. He is in negotiations to fight again this July.

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James Murphy is a South Australia based contributor for Fight News Australia.