Former BAMMA champion and Bellator MMA veteran Stuart Austin has bad intentions for his opponent at EMC 5.
On Saturday night, Austin (14-6) will lock horns with Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii (23-11-1) for the inaugural EMC heavyweight title atop EMC 5. Even though he was preparing for a different opponent, Austin didn't refuse the offer to face Ishii. He and his upcoming foe share some common ground. Not only they started their martial career with judo, but they also took part in some of the same tournaments when they were younger.
“I competed in judo tournaments until I was 19,” Austin told Sherdog.com. “I took part in some of the same ones like him, but we never got to compete against each other before he went on to become an Olympic champion. It’s a really, really fun fight for me. A lot of my old judo friends are also excited because they know who he is and are going to watch the fight. It was also an opportunity for me to get in touch with some people with whom I lost contact.” In his latest appearance, “He-Man” smashed Yuri Andrei in the third round of their Contenders Norwich 28 encounter. The Brit plans to put on a repeat performance against the well-experienced Ishii.
“I think it's going be a finish,” he predicted. “Both of us like to finish their opponent, so I don’t see it going for five rounds. I tried to visualize a lot of different ways to finish him. I think my judo background is good enough to negate his judo. He’s been beaten on the field before. I believe I'm going to knock him out, to be honest.”
The Team Titan representative had to make some adjustments in his training due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, but he managed to prepare as well as possible for the upcoming fight.
“The COVID-19 forced me to learn a lot about myself. I had to think more about what’s important in my training,” Austin explained. “I used to do lots and lots of things because I've always done them. Due to the COVID-19, I’ve taken things out of my training schedule, things that weren't beneficial. As you mature as an athlete, you don't always have to do everything. Sometimes you have to change. I was doing a lot of training before. For this fight, I did a little bit less. I’m not 22 anymore. I can’t recover as well as I did in the past.”
The English fighter also seems to have found his ideal weight class. His venture to the 205-pound division ended with one victory over Nills van Noord against with two TKO defeats at the hands and knees of Ultimate Fighting Championship vet Dalcha Lungiambula and current UFC contender Johnny Walker.
“I will never fight in light heavyweight again because losing weight to get to 205 pounds is just horrible for me,” he stated. “I was sick all the time, I would get ill, and I had a lot of staph infections. For some people cutting weight is a good option. Some people need to be the bigger guy. For me, being the faster guy is better. If someone offers some serious cash, I might consider losing weight again. But heavyweight is where I want to be right now.”
After four minor events, Elite MMA Championship is planning to go big. The upcoming card features several UFC, KSW, Professional Fighters League, Bellator and M-1 Global competitors, along with a former BAMMA champion and an Olympic gold medalist.
“EMC offered me a three-fight deal, and I signed a contract with them,” Austin revealed. “But they are very reasonable and gave me options. I can still fight anywhere else. EMC is definitely above a lot of European shows in terms of how I’m being paid. I think this is a great place right now. They are investing big time in the show and the fighters.”
Austin won his first title after crushing Thomas Denham in their battle at BAMMA 23 back in November 2015. Should he prevail on Saturday, he plans to defend the EMC belt while also building his career up to the top.
“I want to defend the title, of course,” he added. “It’s nice to hold a belt and be the defending champion. EMC might be the right place for me now, where I can build myself for the future while wearing their belt. But MMA nowadays, you never know what’s going to happen or what opportunities are going to come up.”
EMC 5 will go down in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Sept. 5. The same card will also feature the first round of the EMC welterweight grand prix featuring Ismail Naurdiev, Amiran Gogoladze, Pavel Kusch and Tymoteusz Lopaczyk.