Welsh fighter Jack Shore is feeling on top of the World – and he’s aiming to experience more of the same.
The Abertillery warrior, newly promoted to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is undefeated after 12 fights and keen to maintain progress.
He won 11 Cage Warriors contests and was crowned bantamweight champion before beating Nohelin Hernandez on a third round submission at UFC Denmark.
He is intent on being number one and says: “If my ultimate goal is to be the best in the World then starting by becoming best in Europe would be a good start.”
Shore, nicknamed the Tank, made his UFC octagon debut at a sold out Royal arena in Copenhagen, producing a nerveless display in the opening fight of the night.
It was a magnificent start to his UFC career and says: “It’s sunk in now. I took a couple of days to take it all in, but there were so many positive comments and feedback and that helped.
“I’m not in cage fighting for praise, but when everybody wishes you well and people I’ve never met are over the moon for me it’s a good feeling. They are really genuine.
“There are points in training when you are mentally tired, your body is tired and you are away from family and girlfriend. Winning makes it all worthwhile and that’s why I do it.
“As much as you do it for yourself it can be humbling and overwhelming to see so many people happy. That keeps me grounded and ensures my head doesn’t swell too much.
“The Welsh public have been behind me for a long time, but there are a lot more eyes on me now. When I train at Tillery Combat there are guys from so many other gyms wishing me well.
“Guys with no affiliation to me wished me all the best and pretty much every fighter I know in Wales sent a text saying good luck.
“It’s a tight community and we support each other.”
Shore admits he was excited before his UFC debut, saying: “Before the fight I thought ‘It’s nuts that I’ve watch the UFC my whole life, watched it and been there live a couple of times’.
“Them to put the UFC gloves on, go in the cage – the UFC’s Octagon! – and fight. It was pure excitement.”
Shore is one of four Welsh fighters in the UFC ranks, along with Jack Marshman, Brett Johns and John Phillips.
The 24-year-old Shore believes more of the Cage Warriors Welsh elite are more than capable of stepping up, saying: “There is so much talent coming through in Wales.
“It won’t be long before there are between 10 and 15 fighters from Wales in UFC rather than just four.”
On a personal basis, Shore its looking to future success, but he is staying patient.
“There is no rush,” he says. “I’m 24-years-old and still learning from fight to fight.
“The time between fights must be used to get better, otherwise you are eaten alive at the top level.
“UFC is coming to Europe and the UK early in 2020 I imagine they would come to London and I heard rumours about Scotland we well.
“March time would be ideal for me. I’m not the boss and we’ll see what they come to me with.”
Shore was unbeaten in 12 amateur contests and won all 11 Cage Warriors fights – including four knockouts an d six submissions.
Scott Malone, Mike Ekundayo and Vaughan Lee among those who have felt that ‘Tank’ power. Shore is a big, aggressive and technically sound bantamweight with excellent balance who is skilled in every area, but thrives in the wrestling.
He puts punches together well and has a remarkable knack for foot sweeps, both in the initial takedown and when kicking people’s legs out from under them.
Shore has been helping to promote Cage Warriors 108 at the Viola Arena, home of ice hockey’s Cardiff Devils, in Cardiff Bay.
Undefeated Welshman Mason ‘The Dragon’ Jones is among the main draws and his appearance will ensure a big turnout by Mixed Martial Arts fans.
“A lot of the guys, like Mason in the main event, have fought on my undercard in Cage Warriors and I hope they draw motivation from my success in moving up to UFC.
“They have big opportunities in front of them. All of them are capable of winning and progressing, all have potential to be up there with me, Jack Marshman, Brett Johns and John Phillips.
“They are not a million miles off.”
Shore works closely with his father, Welsh coach Richard, and admits the way his dad and corner man dealt with nerves in. Denmark for his UFC debut surprised him.
“He seemed to deal with things better than I thought he would,” says Jack. “When I was main event at the last two Cage Warriors fights I could see he was stressed out and nervous.
“At the UFC event in Copenhagen he was a lot less stressed and calm in the build-up and far more switched on.
“He’s pretty good at keeping any stress under wraps, especially during fight camp.
“He’s nervous, but that’s to be expected and it’s important to switch it off when the fight starts. But I am his son, so I imagine that at times he feels it…he probably feels the nerves worse than I do.
“Ask people who have been in the changing room before my fights, I look like I’m about to go for a walk in the park and he looks like he’s getting ready for battle.
“As soon as we step into the cage and the bell rings to start the fight, he’s switched on then. He’s not dad anymore, he’s coach, he’s thinking like a coach and speaking like a coach.”
Father and son are working on a new MMA project, saying: “Dad and I have invested time and money into the new facility. It’s going to be best MMA facility in South Wales, on par with some of the American gyms including full size cage, rolling areas, bags and more.”
Shore’s UFC debut in Den Mark proved a major success for the Abertillery man and fellow Welshman John Phillips.
Both earned themselves a 50,000 dollar performance of the night bonus by winning in style and Shore said: “I can compete with anyone in the division now. With a win like that it will really let people know what I’m all about, and it shows the sort of potential I have.
“The guys at the top will be keeping a quiet eye on me now over the next few fights as well.”
At the top of the undercard Swansea-born middleweight Phillips finished Alen Amedovski with a stunning knockout 17 seconds into the first round.
Phillips, nicknamed ‘The Welsh Wrecking Machine’ has elite punching power and underlined that against Amedovski.
“There was no way I was going to lose,” said Phillips. “You would have had to kill me to take that away.”
Cage Warriors 108 at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay on Saturday, October 12 Find tickets