”Jag bad inte om ett kontrakt med UFC”
De Castro fick UFC-kontrakt genom sitt deltagande i ’Dana White Contender Series’ medan Tafa får chansen direkt på den stora scenen. I en intervju med ’MMA Junkie’ berättar nykomlingen om sin reaktion när UFC erbjöd ett kontrakt med organisationen.
I was thinking maybe at the end of next year (I’d get a call) – that was my goal. But, man, they just came knocking after my last fight, and I was like, ‘I’ll take it, bro. One hundred percent. The thing was, I finished my fight and then I went and took my partner and my son to Bali and then I get a phone call and someone’s like, ‘Hey, I think the UFC are interested in you.’ And I was like, ‘What the heck?’ Not once did I ever plead (for it). Because a lot of people right now, they get to social media and they put their ‘last name 4UFC’ hashtag and whatnot. But for me they came looking for me, and I was like, sweet.
Tafa gjorde sin professionella UFC-debut så sent som 2017 och har endast hunnit med tre matcher i karriären. Samtliga av dessa matcher har slutat via ’knockout’ till australiensarens fördel. Som mentor och träningspartner har Tafa ingen mindre än UFC-veteranen Mark Hunt och vid ett tillfälle har även helgens titelutmanare Israel Adesanya gett ett gott råd till debutanten.
I’ve been blessed to walk out (with) Mark Hunt, and before one of his cards I saw Israel and he said, ‘Hey man. When you take that walk, pretend it’s yourself, because in the future… it’s only time.’ So when Mark walked out – and you know the reception he gets – I took it as if it was my own. And once I got to the cage, I was like, ‘Man, I can do this.’ After that I was like, ‘Bro! I’m definitely doing this! I can do this walk!’ And I can do the walk-off, too!’
”Kan kalla mig för Justin Covington”
Tafa vill göra ett gott intryck på fansen under helgens match och även visa att han är en ’fighter’ med mer än ett trix upp i rockärmen.
I want (to make) a good impression. I want people to see that I’m not just your typical banger. I do have an all-around game, I do have a good cardio tank. So it’s going to be like, ‘Damn, this Samoan’s got some cardio. Oh (expletive)! This guy’s got some cardio!’ They might call me ‘Justin Covington’ or something. You’re gonna see an all-round game. You’re going to see some good volume, some good power. It’s just going to be like, ‘Damn, this guy deserves to be here, and this is why he’s on the main card now.’