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Seizing the opportunity with both hands

GOALS: Mills

DEFEATED AT the first hurdle to compete in the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), welterweight Che Mills is thrilled to receive a second chance.

In the reality television shown The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom, which aired in 2009, Mills was eliminated in the preliminary stage by the eventual winner James Wilks and thus lost out on the opportunity to compete for a lucrative UFC contract.

Nevertheless, Mills returns to the octagon against American Chris Cope on November 5 at UFC 138 at LG Arena in Birmingham.

The Gloucester native, who has 13 wins (six KOs and four submissions) and four losses to his name, has won his last four fights and wants to remain with the UFC for a longer period this time around.

The 28-year-old told the Voice of Sport:

“Since I got the call (to compete at UFC 138) the first thing I said to myself was I don’t want to be one of them guys who gets into the UFC, have one fight, lose and then get cut.

“To me, I couldn’t even call myself a UFC fighter if that happened to me so firstly I just want to put on a good performance. My goal is to stay in UFC for now and then when I get a bit more comfortable I’ll set myself some new goals.”

At least eight English fighters will be competing at the LG Arena, including Terry Etim and Jason Young, and Mills expects the support from the home crowd to be vociferous.

“All the UK fans usually get behind all the UK guys so it should be good,” said Mills.

“I fought in Birmingham before when I won the Cage Rage title and I had a lot of support especially as it was close to home.”

During the fledgling stages of his career the former Cage Rage British champion was inspired by another ex-Cage Rage titleholder in the shape of current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who fought four times in London under the Cage Rage banner before joining the UFC in 2006.

Silva is now widely regarded as the pound-for-pound number one mixed martial artist in the world.


INSPIRATION: Silva

“I used to watch a lot of Cage Rage even before I was fighting there. I used to always go to Wembley and watch and he (Silva) is one of the guys that I remember,” said Mills.

“He impressed me from then and has got better and better. His style is the way I fight. I’m not saying that I’m as good as him but he’s more of a stand up guy, he tries to avoid the wrestling but when it does go to the floor he’s not bad there either. He’s kind of what I modelled my style on in a sense.”

And for anybody who has never seen Mills compete before, he declared: “Expect me to bring it. All my fights, win or lose, I never hold back.”

•For more information on UFC 138 tickets visit www.ufc.com and The Ultimate Fighter 14 begins on September 22 at 11pm on FX

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