(A victorious John Hathaway, Courtesy of Zuffa, LLC)
2010 is looking like it will be a big year for MMA, especially for UK fighters. The UFC will see a British athlete compete for a title for the first time in its history and, along with the rise of Dan Hardy, Paul Daley and Ross Pearson, John Hathaway is similarly stepping up.
Cutting his teeth on the UK circuit, the ZT Fight Skool prodigy signed to the UFC with an undefeated record. Making a huge impact in his Octagon debut before racking up decision wins over fellow Brit Paul Taylor and American Rick Story, Hathaway has shown his developing skills and dominant wrestling.
Now training with London Shootfighters, Hathaway recently signed to fight Diego Sanchez on May 28th and he is more than excited by the prospect.
“I am stoked for this fight,” exclaimed Hathaway. “I am so excited. I love Diego’s intensity and I think he is great fun to watch. I can’t wait for May to come around.”
Whilst some think this could be an early step up for the young British fighter, Hathaway is thinking clearly about his decision.
“I don’t see this as a win/win situation for me. I am going to go out there to beat Sanchez. I want to keep winning and move forward,” said Hathaway. “I was offered a few other names but they were just as dangerous fights just with less clout. It was a decision to either stay on the undercard or step up and fight a named guy.
“I know I have a long camp to prepare but I know this is going to be a hard fight. However, I think I have a few strategies to explore,” says Hathaway.
“Diego is a small welterweight. If you look at what Koscheck or Fitch did to him, the blue print to beat him has been shown. I will be much bigger than him in the fight so we just need to decide which strategy to use. I have the option to take him down and ground and pound him or to stand and trade.”
Bringing over southpaw Eric Bradley to help him prepare is just one element. Training with Marius Zaromskis, James Zikic and others at London Shootfighters has seen the young fighter’s skills and confidence grow recently.
“I think we both have good wrestling. He is better at some things than me and he has great combat Jiu-Jitsu. I will have to be aware of his skills and close him down. In the stand up he comes straight forward so I think I have more options to win.
“Sanchez has great fighter instinct and it is going to be an honour to fight him. You know this is going to be an action packed fight.”
Taking on such a big name doesn’t faze Hathaway at all; he is more excited than ever before. As part of the new generation of UK fighters in the UFC, he is proving that the Brits have exactly what it takes to get to the top: skills, heart and a passion for the sport.