Carlos Ulberg, also known as “Black Jag” is preparing for his next quest, to win the King in the Ring eight-man super cruiserweight eliminator this weekend.
The King in the Ring eliminator series sets out to find the current King of the New Zealand 92kg weight division in a last man standing fight tournament format.
Fighters will square off under international K-1 rules and will bring together their own techniques from kickboxing, boxing, muay thai, kung fu, kyokuishin karate and other martial arts in a survival three-round elimination bouts.
Ulberg, of Tainui, Te Atiawa and Hāmoa decent knows what it takes to win, having won the heavyweight eliminator in 2017.
“Preparation for the King in the Ring eight-man series has been great,” says Ulberg, “I have an elite team with some of the best strikers and martial artists in the world training at City Kickboxing.”
If he wins this category, Ulberg will be the first Māori and second ever fighter to be crowned King in the Ring in two weight categories. The first was also a fighter from City Kickboxing Gym, current UFC middleweight title competitor Israel Adesanya.
Ulberg says despite the change of division, it’s still heavyweight.
“We’ve all had to drop a bit of weight and this will allow us to feel lighter and fitter,” says Ulberg, “The boys may all possess some rapid power so there’s not much different I can do to prepare for seven other fighters that I don’t know yet and who I’ll be up against first. I’ll just do what I know works for me, listen to my corner, block out and zone in.”
It’s been two years since his last title win but Ulberg knows many fighters will be after him.
"My mental preparation is just as important and through my subconscious mind I've already put myself in that ring a dozen times over. I know I have a target on my back but I'm aware of that, come the 30th of this month I'm sure the rest of the guys will do their best to earn the crown. I don't doubt any of these boys as we've all trained hard the last couple of months on the lead up so I'm excited for a good challenge."
This will just be the start for Ulberg. Next month he may have an MMA fight. However, what is certain is his long-term goal.
“I have the UFC in my sights for sure. But, first things first, I’ve got this backyard of New Zealand and Australia that we need to clean first, and in the very near future I hope to gain the experience needed.”
King in the Ring will be held at the Barfoot and Thompson Stadium in Kohimarama, Auckland.