Cardiff’s own Ieuan Mackenzie believes he is more than ready to get his hand raised as he prepares for his first title defence on March 26th in Ebbw Vale, Wales.
21-year-old, up-and-comer Mackenzie was crowned Cage Warriors Academy Wales featherweight champion back in December. Now he is looking to defend that title against English-born Joe Taylor, with plenty of eyes beginning to keep a close watch on him this young fighter.
“Camp is going great, currently working on getting in to fight shape and sparring in the same way I intend to fight against my opponent.
“I’m feeling confident leading into this fight, although, it’s a title defence and I’m not treating it differently to any other fight. I aim to go in there and get my hand raised and the belt is just an added bonus to go with it.”
After beating Kenzie Jones in the same cage in Ebbw Vale in December, “The Lion” believes that victory has got people talking about his rise with a great deal more respect.
MMA Community Beginning to Take Notice
Talking about why he thought he wasn’t getting much attention in the MMA community, he said: “I just think it was plain neglection of me as a fighter. Maybe it was because I was fighting a hyped-up prospect from a well-known gym in my last fight. The media outlets were just overlooking me.
“Whatever the reason, it was just disrespectful to my team and me. It felt good to cause such a massive upset. As I keep climbing, it’s going to be impossible for people to miss me.”
His opponent, Taylor, comes into the fight with a record of 6-1 and has already proven to be an experienced finisher.
“Taylor’s record and well-roundedness were one of the reasons I called him out for this fight. I liked the challenge, and I’m trying to fight the highest level I can at amateur.”
Celtic Pride Gym
An athlete of the highly skilled Welsh gym, Celtic Pride, Mackenzie believes his transition into the gym was one of the best decisions he has made in MMA.
“There is not a higher level of Muay Thai in South Wales, and as a result of this fight, my stand up has improved tremendously. The coaches, Stephen Giffard and Greg Creel complement each other extremely well when it comes to mixing in the stand-up and the ground aspects of MMA.
“I’m also fortunate enough to develop my BJJ at the Craig Ewers Academy. That is the main base of my grappling and groundwork. You won’t find a higher level of BJJ in the country!”
Someone you may be familiar with and who has a close relationship with the Celtic Pride gym is UFC lightweight and former Cage Warriors double champion Mason Jones.
“I have had the opportunity to train alongside and directly with Mason. I am always grateful to be able to test my skills against such a high-level athlete. It shows me a level many fighters can’t experience in the gym.
“Mason also brings back knowledge and techniques that he has picked up while training in America. It’s always great to add these details to my MMA game. Mason is constantly trying to help everyone in the gym improve, and he’s a real team player.”
What Should People Expect?
With just under two months before he steps back into defending his title, the Welsh prospect states it will be him getting his hand raised in Ebbw Vale.
“People can expect a bit of everything. My wrestling is going to be the deciding factor in this fight. I will be dictating wherever this fight goes. Come fight night, I’m going to be ready for this fight in all areas. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get my hand raised.
“People should keep their eyes on me. I’m only getting better with every fight and always showing new aspects of my game.”
Featured image credits to Ieuan Mackenzie