Tom Breese is back in an UFC octagon this Saturday looking to make an impression at middleweight.
The Birmingham-born star raced to 10-0 in his career and seemed like the most exciting prospect to come out of the UK in a long time.
Two setbacks in his last three fights, all of which took place in the past four years, have seen his stock stagnate a little, but at still just 29 years old Breese is still a major talent.
Ahead of his showdown with KB Bhullar at Fight Island this week, talkSPORT caught up with Breese.
On his preparations for this fight…
Same as always, really. I’m always trying to chase excellence in martial arts and try and become the best version of myself – that hasn’t really changed.
I’ve made good progress this training camp and I’m looking forward to testing myself on Saturday. Yeah, I’ve looked at some of his fights. I looked at a couple of his habits and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
On how he dealt with lockdown…
I didn’t mind it, to be fair. As soon as lockdown happened, I cleared out my garage and kitted it out with equipment and I was just training in my garage every day.
I made some real good progress with my athleticism. I put a punch bag in there as well so I was practicing my skills. It wasn’t bad at all.
On how this fight came to be…
I was waiting for a fight in the summer, ideally. The opportunity ended up coming in October and I took in with both hands. I’ll have this fight on this Saturday and then I’ll look for the next opportunity.
I want to make the most of all my opportunities. We can’t do this forever, you know? I have many years ahead in this game, but I want to make the most of my career and become as good as I can be.
On what he learned from his two losses…
We always learn more in our biggest challenges and it just motivates me to do better. As I say, I’m always trying to be the best version of myself and searching for top quality coaches.
I’ve been working with some different coaches this camp and I feel like they’ve made huge differences to my game.
On how he’s up his game in training…
One of the coaches is Joby Clayton, he trains Anthony Joshua, the heavyweight champion. Training with him I’ve learned many things and I’ve gained an understanding in my striking and I’ve also been with a top class Greco Roman wrestling coach.
So my clinch game, I’ve looked to make improvements there also and I definitely have in this camp.
On if he feels better at middleweight…
Oh definitely. I feel I’m bigger and better. I feel like I’ve had to grow into the weight a little bit and lockdown was a blessing in that regard. I had the opportunity to put on some extra muscle and size for the weight class.
I was a bit too big for welterweight, but middleweight was a bit too easy for me to make. But, I’ve put on good size.
On training with Leon Edwards…
Leon is on a terrific win streak. He’s one of my training partners and it’s great to train with a high level athlete like him. Hopefully, he gets that title shot next year and he brings it back to Birmingham.
Catch Tom Breese in action at UFC Fight Island on BT Sport this Saturday night