Dundee mixed martial artist Scott Malone is gearing up for the fight of his life as he prepares to battle champion Jack Shore for the Cage Warriors bantamweight title and a potential ticket to the sport’s top table.
Malone will clash with 24-year-old Shore at Cage Warriors 104 in Cardiff on Saturday where they top the pro card.
Welshman Shore, unbeaten in 10 bouts, is defending his belt on home soil and will be the crowd favourite.
However, that is not something that fazes 6-1 fighter Malone, who is used to taking on opponents in their own back yards and coming out on top.
He won by unanimous decision over another Welshman, Jason Jenkins, in Newport at Cage Warriors 91, Malone’s first fight of the prestigious series.
He also saw off Wales’ Josh Reed in Cardiff in December of last year at Cage Warriors 100 to set up this month’s title clash with Shore at the same venue.
Ahead fighting in front of 5,000 people at the Viola Arena, the 31-year-old believes he is in the shape of his life after a gruelling training programme and is ready to take down Shore on his own patch.
He said: “I feel amazing. Obviously, the early mornings are not the best but I am coming into it feeling confident.
“I was over in America for three weeks at the start of my fight camp but I’m back in Dundee now.
“Jack is, obviously, a great fighter but I do see little things in his game I could capitalise on and take advantage of.
“The pressure is on him, it’s his home town crowd, he is the undefeated champion and I am the challenger.
“The past couple of times I have fought it has been away from Scotland and I have won them all.
“There is 40 or 50 people coming down from Scotland, mainly Dundee, and I really appreciate that.
“I think 50 Scottish guys are going to be louder than 4,000 Welsh fans so I’m not fazed.”
By day, Malone is a scaffolder and has been putting in long hours at work combined with his fight training and raising a young family as he gives his all for what could be his big break.
UFC chief Sean Shelby is to attend the event as he eyes up full-time fighter Shore for a spot in the sport’s elite set-up.
However, Dunde MMA ‘pro’ Malone feels he has sacrificed more and is ready to show Shelby, and everyone else watching, it is he who should be rubbing shoulders with MMA’s best.
Malone added: “My manager spoke to the leading light of UFC in Europe, Sean Shelby, and he is going to be there.
“Of course, he knows about Jack and that he’s a great fighter. He’s put him forward for the UFC but I want to show him I’m good enough by spoiling his party.
“I’ve been doing a bit of everything in training to get ready for him but, obviously, I have work and a family, he trains and fights full time.
“I don’t get paid enough for that!
“I am still getting up at 5am and I don’t think he is going to have the same work ethic as me.
“I definitely want it more.”
Meanwhile, on the amateur undercard, Dundee MMA club-mate Stuart George will take on Josh O’Connor.