A series of tragedies in the life of a Dundee man has spurred him on to become a top martial arts fighter.
Darren Ferguson, 33, from Lochee, is a two-time British champion in Brazilian jui jitsu and is now gearing up to make his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut.
A member of the Gracie Barra Club, he works out regularly at the House of Samurai premises on the city’s Douglas Street under Darren Clark and Valentine Duke.
Darren explained how a tragic six-month period in his life saw him lose eight loved ones, including his mum.
He saw the martial art – popular among MMA fighters – as a way of coping with the intense grief which set upon him halfway through 2016.
He said: “I started competing in Brazilian jui jitsu after eight people close to me passed away in a sixmonth period between August 2016 and January 2017.
“One was my mum, Avril Langlands-Gormley, and another was my pal Gary ‘Gadger’ Strachan. The others were also family and friends. As you can imagine, it was a horrific time for me. It was truly awful.
“Although they are gone from me physically, they are still with me in spirit.
“My mum, Gadger and the others motivate and inspire me.
“I sometimes feel all alone in the world but I’m not as they are there. They are my motivation.”
Darren is also a coach at Celtic Boys 2008 football team and trains with the boxers at the Lochee club.
Brazilian jui jitsu was developed from Kodokan judo ground fighting and Darren has won golds at British national championships in Glasgow, Coventry and Birmingham.
“I am looking to make a name for myself in MMA and have my first bout in Dunfermline on September 14,” he said.
“I am totally motivated by those who have gone before me. Nothing is impossible for me with them in my heart.”