‘UK MMA used to be overlooked for years – now it’s at the top of the game’

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    Mick Parkin is one of many Brits plying their trade in the UFC as MMA in the UK is hitting an all-time high.

    The promotion has two British champions with Leon Edwards reigning over the welterweight division while Tom Aspinall recently claimed the interim heavyweight title through a devastating knockout of Sergei Pavlovich this past weekend.

    Parkin – who takes on Caio Machado on Saturday (November 18) at UFC Fight Night 232 – is a friend and training partner of Aspinall and the Sunderland native admitted during an exclusive interview with Daily Star Sport that he predicted the 30-year-old would put his Russian foe to sleep in the first round.

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    "It was amazing, I did think Tom would knock him out in the first round but I was still super nervous for him," Parkin said. "He's a super nice guy that's why he deserves it as well, as much as he is talented he's super kind and works hard. He works like an athlete and he's got a great lifestyle."

    Parkin, whose nickname is Bigfoot, fights in the same division as his compatriot and will be looking to go 8-0 in his career when he takes on his Brazilian opponent in Las Vegas as he said the match-up is favourable for him.

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    "I've seen a few holes in his game, I think the aggression definitely works better for me," he stated. "It's obviously heavyweight so you definitely can't get hit by [someone] his size but I feel its favourable for me."

    At just 28 years old, Parkin is early in his UFC career having fought just once in the promotion when he defeated Jamal Pogues in July. The heavyweight raved about the rise of MMA's popularity in the UK after years of the sport being overlooked across the pond.

    "A few years ago UK MMA used to be overlooked, now it's caught up," Parkin said. "The grappling is just as good as in America. Even the local shows, kids who've had no fights and are 15, their skillset is amazing, it's crazy." The heavyweight insisted he's in no need to rush his progression as the only thing on his mind in 2024 is to put on a fight in his native UK in front of his friends and family.

    "For next year, the only thing I really hope for is hopefully we come back to the UK again and fight in London, that would be the main thing to wish for because that was great."

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