Jake Quickenden is no stranger to reality TV shows, having taken part in a host of them during his career. But the 35-year-old Englishman is putting himself to the test in a way none of his previous TV appearances can compare with.
Quickenden is taking part in Oktagon MMA’s reality show, Stage to the Cage, where he and stand-up comedian Paul Smith are separately training for a professional mixed martial arts bout at Oktagon 48 in Manchester in November.
Quickenden has put himself to the test in a variety of reality shows, including “The X Factor,” “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!” “Dancing On Ice,” “Ninja Warrior UK,” and “Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.” Now he’s set to push himself to the limit on Oktagon MMA’s reality show, “Stage To The Cage.”
Quickenden is currently in training for his first-ever mixed martial arts bout, which will be against fellow celebrity, stand-up comedian Paul Smith, at Oktagon 48 in Manchester in November. Both Quickenden’s and Smith’s respective journeys are documented on the show, as they prepare to swap their celebrity lives for the life of a professional MMA fighter.
The bout will take place at welterweight, and Quickenden opened up on the difficulty of cutting weight as he prepares to drop from more than 200 pounds down to the welterweight limit of 171 pounds for the fight.
When he was presented with a carrier bag full of bags of sugar to represent the amount of weight he needed to lose before weigh-in day, Quickenden said, “That’s what I’ve got to lose!? I’m going to have to chop my d**k off! I need to start training more!”
Quickenden will need to shed around 44 pounds (20kg) from his prior walking-around weight in order to make weight for the bout, and if the photos of him looking shredded are any guide, he’s making good progress.
Quickenden has been training hard for the bout, and has built a close bond with former Cage Warriors middleweight champion James Webb, who has been putting him through his paces during training. His 10-month journey is nearing its completion, and he tried to put into words just how tough it is to prepare for a full-on MMA bout.
“There’s nothing harder in the world than doing five-minute rounds. It is absolutely relentless,” he said.
“I think I did six or seven five-minute rounds – wrestling, jiu-jitsu, just continuous pressure.
“You’ve got to find something that you love. People are too easy to just give up nowadays. Work is the process, this is where you grow.”
Stage To The Cage is available to stream on Channel 4, with episodes also available via Channel 4’s YouTube channel.