In Australia, UK light-heavyweight Tom Blackledge will get his chance to step into the cage on the biggest MMA show in the world and make his statement in the 205lbs division. Holding a career record of 10-6, the former heavyweight made a big impact on the international scene after dropping to light-heavy. Earning two blistering first round stoppages, the first a submission and the second a devastating head kick, Tom was also seen helping Rampage Jackson coach his team on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights.
"I've been fortunate to train with guys already in the UFC. It really helped me gauge what level I am skill wise and that gave me the confidence to know I could get in there and cope at that level ... "Helping on TUF was an even bigger confidence boost."
"Teaching is how I learnt the sport. Having to break down the moves has been a massive help for my technique. When I first started there weren't any MMA schools. We taught ourselves from videos and watching fights."
"This training camp has been really good. Being at 205lb means I have to train hard as my body naturally wants to be heavier so it keeps me disciplined. I've been training my strength and conditioning a lot with Barrie Edwards as well so I'm in really good shape and as light as I've ever been."
"Perosh is a tough fighter with good MMA experience and three UFC fights already. I think we're both coming into this fight with a bit of ring rust but when you look at my career, whenever I have had time off I always come back and have my best performances.
"I mean, it's not like I have been sitting around the whole time playing Xbox...too much. I did a twelve week camp for UFC 120 but I have been constantly training as well as running my own gym so I don't think rust will be a big factor.
"Perosh is a good grappler; a high level black belt and trains at a good school. He is a big guy and I am definitely not going to underestimate him. But, I think he is a good opponent for me. I think I should be better than him on the feet or on the floor."
"Some guys mistake all this for nerves. But for me I feel like Christmas. I've been waiting for a long time to get into the UFC and now it has come to fruition. Having been around guys like Rampage and Michael [Bisping] I know what is expected so none of it should be a big shock.
"When I first started ten years ago, fighting wasn't a career option but I wanted to be in the UFC. This is a dream come true. Now I have the opportunity to show fans outside of the UK what I can do and I am going to take that opportunity with both hands."
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