Mike ‘Blood Diamond’ Mathetha will make his UFC debut in 2022, after scoring a four-fight contract in the welterweight division earlier this year.
Mathetha says he will be fighting for his family and friends and "those who have left us", such as the late Fau Vake, who died as a result of an unprovoked attack in Auckland's CBD.
"Me and him being both welterweights, it was something we used to talk about."
Mathetha, who was born in Zimbabwe but grew up in Blenheim, told UFC fighter and Te Ao Toa host Kai Kara-France, "It's going to pump me up, you know."
He says the prospect of his UFC debut ,"hasn't fully sunk in yet,"
Mathetha is an accomplished kickboxer and has fought extensively both overseas and in New Zealand, where he is a two-time 'King in the Ring' kickboxing champion.
"It's another step. I guess for me, it's just a journey, starting from just a novice padded fight to now being on the world's biggest stage in mixed martial arts. It's quite a cool feeling."
Kara-France, who is a teammate at Auckland's City Kickboxing, asked Mathetha if fans could expect to see the "special sauce", the exciting style he brings to kickboxing, in MMA.
"Oh yeah, definitely. I may have a small record but I've got one submission, one TKO and one point, so it means I can do it all, he said.
"Just got to make my kickboxing creative style more suitable for MMA."