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Watson revved up for UFC debut
4:28pm Friday 24th August 2012 in General Sport
Tom Watson says he doesn’t feel under any extra pressure to perform when he makes his UFC debut next month.
The 30-year-old Southampton Mixed Martial Arts expert is getting his first outing for the world’s leading MMA brand, the UFC, when he takes on American fighter Brad Tavares in Nottingham on Saturday, September 29.
If Watson impresses and goes on to make it big in the UFC, then he could join the list of their fighters who have earned millions from the sport and become a household name across the world.
Despite all that, Watson insists it is business as usual for him ahead of the contest.
“I don’t feel under more pressure. I don’t look at things like that, it’s about long-term goals,” he said.
“You could look at it and think this is a life changing fight but a life is not just one moment.
“I can see from an outsider’s point of view how important this might all look, but I’m still in it and I’ve not done anything in the UFC yet. I need to perform first.”
Watson is fully recovered from a back problem that required surgery, marking his return to the octagon with a win over Jack Marshman last time out.
Tavares is another test all together, with eight wins from nine contests.
“I think it’s a pretty good match up,” reflected Watson.
“He’s three and one in the UFC so he’s been doing well and his only loss is to a guy who is a world class wrestler who really unconvincingly beat him. In my opinion that was a close fight.
“I’m pleased the UFC have given me a guy who is young – he’s 24 or 25.
“I won’t watch too much footage of him and will just do my own thing.”
Watson is blocking out all the talk of what a win might potentially mean for him, but there is little doubt the financial aspects of UFC success are hugely appealing.
The middleweight has been fighting to earn the money to train and improve in the past but now enters a world of big stakes, including even on the night when UFC bonuses for the best knockout and submission can range from $5,000 to as much as $50,000.
“It doesn’t matter what field you are in, you want to be as successful as you can,” added Watson.
“In the last few years I have made a better living but if it stops tomorrow it’s not like I won’t be going to work.
“In the UFC you can make a substantial amount of money.
“It’s the same as any other sport and rightly so.
“Another goal is to financially secure myself but all I can focus on is the fight and I will do that.”
- Don’t miss tomorrow’s Daily Echo for more from Tom Watson, who is the cover feature in the Weekend Magazine.