Hemsworth mixed martial arts fighter Scott Askham believes he has learned some valuable lessons from his previous UFC bouts ahead of his appearance on a top card at London’s O2 Arena this month.
Askham is excited at the prospect of fighting in his home country for the first time since he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship organisation when he is part of the bill for UFC Fight Night 84 on Saturday, February 27.
He will take on American Chris Dempsey, who has the same UFC record of one win and two defeats, in a middleweight bout and aims to put on a show on a card that has caught the imagination of the British public.
Top of the bill is another middleweight contest between top names Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping and tickets to the event sold out in just 27 minutes, demonstrating the huge appetite for MMA amongst British sports fans.
“It’s great to be on a great competitive card in London,” Askham told the Express..
“To be on the same card as Silva and Bisping, who’ve both been around a long time and are both extremely good fighters, is a really big thing.
“I’m looking forward to the night and looking forward to the atmosphere at the O2 Arena.
“I’ve got lots of fans going down to London to support me. They are getting dressed up as knights to get behind me.
“I’m fighting in my own country so obviously I’ll have big support.
“I’m enjoying the experience of these big fight nights. Everything about them is great.
“I’ve just got to make sure I’m on the right end of any decision this time - if it gets that far.
“I’m working on a good game plan, looking to keep him standing, pressure him, make him desperate and then come up with a finish.
“I’ve watched my opponent in his previous fights. He’s a wrestler and he’ll be looking to come in and wrestle me.
“I’m more of a stand-up guy, but I can work on the ground as well so if he takes me to the ground that could be him choosing his own fate there.”
Askham is disappointed to have lost two of his first UFC bouts after boasting a proud unbeaten record in the MMA organisation, but he been working hard on making improvements.
He said: “Training’s going really well. I’ve been based at Atherton Submission Wrestling Club, just outside Bolton, and I’ve been doing some good work six days a week.
“I’m doing some strength and conditioning in Leeds with a guy called David Hudson so I’m doing lots of travelling. But it’s worth it to get me in good condition and ready for this next fight.
“I’ve learned from my previous UFC bouts. Obviously I’ve not had the results I wanted, but you do learn more from a loss than a win.
“It was a split decision loss last time and I thought I won. These things happen and it went down to the judges. I’ve just got to make sure this doesn’t happen this time.
“I’m very confident for this one, it’s a good match for me stylistically.”
Askham, 27, made his UFC debut in October, 2014 after big title success with the MMA.
His most recent fight was an unlucky loss to Polish middleweight Krzysztof Jotko at UFC Dublin in October. Prior to that, he picked up his first UFC victory with a phenomenal knockout win over Antonio Dos Santos in June.
The Hemsworth man admits it has been tough for him in the UFC so far, but he expected to be tested and is still pleased he made the switch.
He said: “There’s no easy opponents in the UFC. It’s very competitive and there’s good fighters in there.
“It’s pretty much what I expected really, I knew it was going to be tough.
“I never expected to lose my debut like I did and didn’t expect to be 1 and 2 in the UFC with the opponents I’ve had that I know, I can beat.
“But I haven’t been beat up in the UFC, I’ve not submitted or been TKO’d, I’ve lost to two decisions so I’ve got to make sure I’m on the right end of those decisions or make sure I finish like I did in Berlin.
“It’s miles better all-round than in the MMA, the exposure, the media. When you actually go out there fight week everything’s good and the shows just run perfect, everything’s like clockwork.
“The support you get is 10 times better and obviously fighting in the UFC is a great thing. It’s been my ambition for a very long time, ever since I started with the MMA, so to get there is unbelievable.”
Askham, meanwhile, says the ASW Hemsworth gym he opened above the Alpha pub last autumn is going well.
He added: “Within the local community the support’s been unbelievable and it’s just growing steadily.
“Watching the kids get better each day is really good.”
Watch Scott Askham in action at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs Bisping on Saturday Feb 27, live on UFC Fight Pass.