John Maguire will be sporting the logo of the world's toughest magazine when he steps into the Octagon tomorrow night to face Brit pack friend turned rival John Hathaway when the UFC touches down at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena.
The Gypsy jiu-jitsu pink belt grand master revealed to FO this morning a first glimpse of the fight shorts he'll be wearing tomorrow when the cage doors closes - live on ESPN in the UK and Fuel TV in North America.
"I love my new pink-belt Fighters Only sponsored shorts and I'm looking forward to the fight," Maguire told FO this morning. "I'm in a good place and raring to go."
Maguire reveals that facing Hathaway did come as a bit of a surprise at first, but admits that a showdown between the two UK welterweights was inevitable.
The 29-year-old admits: "I was shocked when the call came to fight John, if I’m honest, and I think he felt the same. But I guess it makes sense and it will show where we both are in the rankings. To be honest, the fight probably does more for me than it does for him as he's been in the UFC a lot longer than I have. But I'm on a good run lately so it makes sense.
"I've trained with John in the past, helped him to prepare for UFC fights actually, and he's obviously got a good 6-1 record in the Octagon, having lost just one fight. We were actually supposed to fight about four years. We were both like 7-0 at the time and we were supposed to fight on Cage Rage, so it's been a long time coming. And now it's coming on the biggest stage - the UFC."
Maguire came alive after being caught cold on his UFC debut against Justin Edwards at UFC 138 in Birmingham last November, dominating the American wrestler for three rounds to register his first win inside the Octagon. And he topped that in Stockholm Sweden in April when he submitted DaMarques Johnson in two rounds in one of the slickest ground fights of the year so far.
But Hathaway definitely represents a step up in class for the Cambridge traveller. "When I first started training my goal from the very start was to fight in the UFC. Myself and my brother (Tommy Maguire) are fans of the UFC. We watch every event and we know every fighter, so we're living out our dreams.
"For sure John is a step up in class of opponent, but I want too step up and a want to keep moving forward... Look at this (pointing to his face on the official fight poster). I never expected any of this. From where I was fighting to this? It's amazing. Look, I'm on the poster. The UFC fight poster. It's amazing. And it's another thing to tick off and I'm just getting started.
"I've won a bonus, I'm on a poster. It's living up to expectations and then some. I'm loving life."
However, anything less than having his arm raised in Nottingham on Saturday night will be viewed as a failure by the Maguire camp. Since his debut Maguire has added state of the art conditioning sessions to his weekly workouts, and Nottingham viewers are being urged to look out for a new and improved gypsy jiu-jitsu master come the opening bell.
Maguire adds: "At the end of the day, it's all about winning. You couldn't give me a bonus cheque to lose. You couldn't give me two cheques to lose. It's all about winning. The bonus is nice, the money is nice. But it's not a priority. I want to stay undefeated in the UFC that's what matters to me. Winning means everything."
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