Tai Tuivasa has quite the story of how he ended up at American Kickboxing Academy.
Tai Tuivasa was down on his luck. After starting off his pro MMA career with a record of 9-0 and winning his first two UFC bouts, he suffered a three-fight skid. In that span, he was beaten by Junior dos Santos, Blagoy Ivanov, and Sergey Spivak.
Tuivasa has since turned things around, scoring first-round finishes in his last two fights. He ended up knocking out Stefan Struve and then stopped Harry Hunsucker in 49 seconds.
“Bam Bam” credits his turnaround with making the move to AKA. At first, there was a problem. Tuivasa couldn’t get over his beef with fellow heavyweight Justin Willis. The beef stems from Willis’ trash talking ahead of his fight with Mark Hunt. Tuivasa has likened Hunt to a brother and mentor.
“Daniel and I had been speaking a bit about me going there. At the time, I was going through a rough period — on a run of three losses — and so reached out to see if DC would have me there or not.
“DC knew about me and Willis and says, ‘how do we drop this problem?’ I said that only way to drop the problem was me getting my hands on him. I said if I saw Willis, I was hitting him. So DC offered to set up a fight in the gym. Said if it got sorted, and nobody else knew anything about it, would I do it? I said ‘I’ll f—— to do it today.'”
Ultimately, the fight never took place.
“Justin never showed. Actually, he not only never showed, but moved right out of California God Bless him.”