Birmingham-born UFC athlete Jake Hadley is hoping to confirm his second fight in March 2022, according to coach Kaish Banger.
The 25-year-old was handed a UFC contract back in October, following an impressive first win in Dana White’s Contender Series, submitting Mitch Raposo from the back via a second-round rear naked choke.
Banger has trained Hadley for several years at his gym, Fearless MMA, and travelled with him and the rest of his coaching team to Las Vegas last month.
He said: “We were in Vegas a few weeks ago, and that was an eye opener for me. It’s just such a massive, massive arena, and if you’re not professional they don’t want you in there.
“It was the first time in the US for all of us, there’s things you’ve got to adapt to. There’s things you do here where you know how to weight cut and you know what you’re accessing.
“There was a few little issues, but nothing we won’t be able to sort out next time we’re there because we know what we’re walking into.”
Hadley missed weight by a singular pound at the fight’s official weigh-in, something UFC matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard were reportedly angered by. Promotion chairman Dana White still signed the fighter after his debut bout, claiming he “had a gut feeling that this kid has something special.”
The flyweight’s outward personality has received mixed opinions from MMA enthusiasts online, but Banger believes his student has the correct attitude for a UFC career.
He said: “What you see is what you get with Jake. He might come across as arrogant, but he’s the most professional kid I’ve ever worked with.
“The guy is 100% dedicated to his game. He doesn’t cut any corners and it’s amazing to see that. He’ll train twice a day, sometimes even three times, even if he’s not got a fight coming up.
“He’s just a dedicated athlete and I think that’s why you’ll see him succeed. I know you’ve got to find a balance, but this guy is obsessed, and I think to get to the top, to be a champion, you’ve got to be obsessed.”
Hadley joins the list of several UFC stars fighting out the West Midlands, with other notable names such as Leon Edwards and Jai Herbert performing well in their respective divisions.
Banger continued: ““Jake’s still a young kid, he’s only just turned 25. He’s grown quite a bit in the sport already, but obviously there’s still a lot to learn, especially with the level he’s going to be competing at.
“I think he will handle it. It’s a big thing with the UFC, he’s going to have to speak on camera a lot, but he does his talking mainly in the ring.”
Banger himself has roots in MMA, and has over 20 years’ experience in competitive Thai Boxing. He works alongside his brother, Kamby (former GB wrestling captain), to train Team Fearless fighters.
He said: “Jake’s the main talk (from Fearless MMA) at the moment. He got signed after his win on Dana White’s Contender Series.
“I think we’re looking at March to confirm his next fight.”