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Showtime for Winner

AGGRESSIVE: Winner (right)

THE POPULARITY of mixed martial arts (MMA) has been emphasised by the fact that an event will have highlights broadcasted on terrestrial television this weekend.

BAMMA (The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) 10 takes place on September 15 at the Wembley Arena and the main event will see former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitor Andre Winner take on Rob Sinclair for the world lightweight title, which will be shown on Channel 5.

MMA is widely seen as the fastest growing sport in the world and Winner, 30, recognises the growth of it within the UK.

He told the Voice of Sport: “It shows how we’ve come on leaps and bounds. If you’d have done this fight maybe five, 10 years ago it would’ve struggled a lot more than what it would do now.

“It’s becoming more widespread so you’ve got more fans who are a lot more well versed as to what’s going on in the fights. The appreciation helps the excitement of it.”

Winner, who has a fight record of 14 wins (three K.Os and three submissions) and six losses, first came to prominence when appearing on reality television program The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs United Kingdom in 2009 and went on to compete five times in the UFC.

FOCUSED: The 30-year-old has his hand raised in triumph

Comparing BAMMA to the UFC, Winner said: “The UFC, they’re massive. They’re a worldwide organisation so it’s hard to compare other shows to the UFC but I think BAMMA is a very good production. I wouldn’t be with them if I didn’t feel that way. I’m just happy to be here back in the UK fighting, giving something back to the fans and progressing in my own career.”

Although he resides in Leicester, Winner was born in St George’s in Grenada and would one day like to return there and teach MMA to youngsters.

“I’d love to go back someday and to be able to start something out there because the great thing about MMA is that there is so many ways to win a fight. There’s so much kids out there that don’t have the opportunity or the chance to get into certain sports and I think with my help or somebody else’s help that you can make great champions out of them.”

But as for the present, mainly September 15, Winner stated: “For this fight they’re going to see a very focused, very relaxed but aggressive Andre Winner. I’m looking to finish the fight within the distance. I’m pretty confident that I’ll do that.”

BAMMA 10: Sinclair vs Winner takes place at London's Wembley Arena on 15th September and will be televised live on 5* (Freeview channel 30, Sky 176) with highlights on Channel 5. Buy tickets from the Wembley Arena website. BAMMA is brought to you in association with Lonsdale.

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