Paul Elliott’s ONE Championship tenure hasn’t yet managed to hit the ground running.
But he’s looking to change that when he steps into action for the third time against Mauro Cerilli at ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham on Saturday, September 30.
After a shock defeat in his promotional debut, Elliott looked to be on the brink of victory when he took on Martin Batur at ONE 160 in August 2022. The Middlesbrough monster caught his foe with a blistering overhand left that left him on the canvas, but Batur managed a miraculous recovery to win the bout.
Looking back, “The King of the North” said, “I don’t know how he got back up from that. Not only did he hit his head off the floor, but I hit him again, and I think it woke him back up. Instantly, I was wondering how he managed to get up after that shot. It was so hard.
“I knew I was close to finishing him because he was making some horrendous noises. And, normally, that’s a sign of someone withering. But fair play, he stuck in there.”
Elliott revealed the loss took some time to get over, even though the result was later changed to a no-contest when Batur failed a drug test.
The 31-year-old now has a third chance to make a first impression in the heavyweight division, and he’s not taking it lightly. So much so, that he has moved his training altogether and levelled up since his last appearance a year ago.
Now training with some of the best heavyweights the UK has on offer, the Yorkshire giant believes a much different combatant will be on show later this month.
“I really wanted to make a statement and felt that I was on the cusp of doing so. I’m out here training to win, and he’s cheating. It really upset me to find out. It tested my mentality, and it made me question my abilities. I started thinking if I should even be in ONE,” Elliott said.
“I now train with the best fighters in the heavyweight division in Mick Parkin, Joffie Houlton, Phil De Fries, and Tom Aspinall. They’re big boys, and I’m now the smallest one there. It’s improved my game by leaps and bounds to work with them.
“I’m a way better fighter now. I’ve got behemoths on top of me, so I’m a lot more comfortable in uncomfortable positions because of that. I’ve completely leveled up.”
While Elliott recognizes the upgrades he’s made against some of Britain’s most outstanding talents, he’s hungry to show it on the world’s stage, and ONE Fight Night 14 will be the prime opportunity to do so.
Losses can teach a combatant more than a win. With lessons learned, the Akurei MMA Academy representative is ready to put one foot in front of the other and start to climb the heavyweight ladder.
“It’s very, very important to me because of the first setback in March 2022 and then in August 2022. I am really, really, really wanting to win,” Elliott said.
“The third time is the charm. I’ve been telling myself this, and I’ve had others say it. I believe that’s a sign.”