UFC middleweight Jared Cannonier has revealed the sacrifices he was prepared to make in order to purse his MMA dream.
Cannonier was last in action at UFC 254 last October. Against former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker, “The Killa Gorilla” had hoped to secure a meeting with current 185-pound king Israel Adesanya with an impressive performance at the pay-per-view.
Instead, Cannonier was largely controlled and comfortably beaten by “The Reaper” after suffering a broken arm in the very first round. Having recovered from the injury, the 37-year-old is looking to get his title charge back on track this weekend in his first appearance of 2021.
Ahead of his upcoming return, Cannonier discussed his road to MMA’s biggest promotion, and the parts of his life he was willing to give up if it meant reaching his goals.
Speaking at UFC Vegas 34 media day, Cannonier, who had been working for the Federal Aviation Administration in Alaska prior to his MMA success, revealed where his desire to become a fighter came from.
“The FAA was essentially a means to be able to do it. Of course, with the support of my wife, I was able to put in all those hours. I had this drive to do the martial arts. It wasn’t necessarily mixed martial arts, but I always had the drive to be a martial artist from being a kid watching them on TV, but especially from the Army where I got my first real taste of martial arts.” (h/t Yahoo Sports)
Hammering home how much the sport meant to him, Cannonier revealed the sacrifices he was willing to make in order to make his way up the mixed martial arts ladder.
“It was something I was going to do and I was willing to sacrifice a lot to do it,” Cannonier said. “If my wife wasn’t going to support me, bye. If my work wasn’t going to support me, bye. My work supported me, but now I’m at the point where I can support myself.”
Having found his home in the middleweight division, Cannonier will be looking to stake his claim for a championship opportunity with a victory over Kelvin Gastelum this weekend. Apart from his defeat to Whittaker, “The Killa Gorilla” boasts wins against David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermansson at 185 pounds.
Despite the withdrawal of Paulo Costa, whom Cannonier was originally scheduled to face on August 21, a success against a perennial contender like Gastelum would certainly still go a long way in conveying the 37-year-old’s championship credentials.
Who do you think will come out on top in the UFC Vegas 34 main event? Jared Cannonier or Kelvin Gastelum?