The UFC‘s newest Australian Jack Della Maddalena has always loved a fight.
The 25-year-old welterweight became drawn to the sport through a love of professional wrestling (HHH and Shawn Michaels among his favourites), as well as whatever MMA and boxing highlights he and his brother could find online – but it wasn’t fully realised until he hit the jackpot.
“When I was real young, there was a video store selling a heap of UFC videos for two dollars a pop – so I went in there with like, 20 bucks and bought as many as I could,” he told Wide World of Sports.
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“They were all sorts of old ones; Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Chuck Liddell fights, and it was just amazing to watch. I’d always enjoyed watching fighting and seeing it in a sanctioned way was so cool to watch.
“If I ever had an option to join a gym I knew I would, and then it came up.”
Della Maddalena said from his first session, he was hooked.
“I knew 100 per cent I’d compete at some stage – I had no idea at that point that it would be something I could do as a job.”
We’ve seen some Australian fighters recently who’ve retained their occupations during their initial trips into the UFC – but Della Maddalena placed a massive bet on himself a year ago, when he left his job in finance to concentrate full time on fighting.
“I’ve sort of put all my eggs in this basket, to just go for it,” he said.
It’s a gamble that’s paid off.
First, after nine consecutive wins he was selected to compete on Dana White’s Contender Series, where those who impress are handed shots in the UFC proper. He duly obliged, and was handed a contract.
“It was a lot of long years of hard work that came down to one moment,” he said of that win.
Now, Della Maddalena is flying out of Australia today en route back to Vegas, where he’ll train for his fight against Brazil’s Warlley Alves at UFC 270.
“Warlley’s going to bring it but I’m definitely going to stand my ground in the centre and have a good scrap with him,” he said.
“I’m going to try and land a lot of hard punches and kicks to get him out of there – but fans can expect a good, solid fight.”
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