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GB Its a very working class background I come from


I dont know if people really go into it too much but a lot of my family were in and out of prison, a lot of my immediate family were drug addicts or alcoholics and I remember growing up and walking into a room at five or six years old and just looking at everyone in the room, whod been on one for days. I just thought theres not a chance Im going to end up like this. I am not about this life, do you know what I mean Then, as I was growing up, the stuff with Rhys Jones happened. Im from not far from there at all and I started boxing then and that really shaped me then to stay away from that kind of life because its really easy when youre from that area, it can be normal to steal from the shop or to sell drugs. You normalise it and acclimatise to it, whereas a non-working class background, middle class, that would be like, Oh my god! But for someone like me that can be just what you do. So to make sure that I didnt end up that way, it was the sport it was football, it was my coaches and my family changing their lives and saying theyve fluffed up there but this is the way and, Mol, youve got to be this way now. I learned how not to be. I learned monkey-see, monkey-do isnt always the case and I think I just learned how to not give up. When the chips are down, when Im fighting and the hard times come, people who havent been through what Ive been through would give up. Thats when you see people You see Conor McGregor when he fought Nate Diaz and when the going got tough, he gave himself up and he tapped. Youre never going to see that from me youll never see that from Tony Bellew, youll never see that any of us. A common taxi drive I get, I have to convince I feel like I have to convince someone about what we do. Theyve still got an old perception of a skinhead, brutal, raw, steroids, barbaric there are loads of words and negative press that you can give Mixed Martial Arts but what Mixed Martial Arts really is is dedication, discipline and theres no cheating it. You cant cheat the grind. You cant cheat having to learn seven or eight different disciplines because when you get in that cage and that door is locked, its you and that other person. So, are you going to get embarrassed because you havent taken the time to learn each craft or are you going to immerse yourself in every form of discipline that you can and go in well prepared This has been a lifetime of work to get to the position that Im in and when you look at our class that youve just watched, weve gone everywhere from bits of Ju-Jitsu, wrestling, boxing, Thai boxing, a little bit of karate kicking, a little bit of Taekwondo. We've done it all. It's pure dedication, pure discipline. I think the perception is changing, the sport is growing and if you look at the demographic who come to watch me, it's women, kids, men and older men and women. When I finish a session in here, if I'm doing sprints or going for a longer run, I'll run to Everton Valley and do the sprints in the valley or if I'm going for a longer run, I run to Goodison, run around it and come back. I always touch the Dixie Dean statue and come back. It's great because when I'm running down that road I just hear, 'beep, beep, beep, beep!' It's always the work men, it's always the people around the ground, always the staff of the club, who say 'Yes, Meatball!' Like, when your legs are really tired, I can't tell you what it's like to cut the amount of weight that I cut because men don't even do it in boxing as MMA fighters cut a bit more weight, it's really nice to see that type of thing and to have the people's support. I'm the People's Champ. It makes it a lot easier and when the days are tough and you feel like you can't give any more and you sometimes contemplate why am I doing this, you've only got to have a conversation with someone who supports you and it's like, 'Hang on a minute, let me just get that chip off my shoulder!' I was walking past the cafe the other day like, 'I'd give anything for a bacon and egg sandwich!' And Canny said to me, 'I'd give anything to be you.' It really puts things into perspective, it's good. I just feel like I'm ready. Everything has happened at the right stage of my life. If this would have come four years previous, I would have fluffed it up. I wasn't mentally ready, I wasn't at the right time in my life, I didn't have the knowledge-base that I have now and now I feel like I'm on a level where this fight is going to propel me to... You don't even know if the next one could be a world title. You don't know if that could be the fight that gets me to the world title. I've got a four-fight deal and I'm telling you, if I get two knockouts, the third will be the title if not the second.