Soa Palelei On His Return To The UFC
When the news broke on Tuesday morning that Soa Palelei (18-3) had finally inked a contract with the UFC, fans around the world breathed a sigh of relief. It has been five long years since Palelei has graced the Octagon with his presence and in that time he has won ten of his past eleven bouts. With a passionate fan base demanding almost daily that “The Hulk” get his shot at redemption, many not only across Australia but all around the world will be counting down the days until Palelei fights on the big stage once again.
On the feeling of finally being back in the UFC, Palelei was excited, “it feels good to be finally back in there after some long years, I can’t wait to fight again and I am glad that the UFC has added me to their roster.” Having been on the radar for quite some time Palelei knew all too well that his fights had to speak for themselves, “it’s the fight game,” he started, “you just have to go in there and give one-hundred and fifty per cent no matter what. We had been talking with UFC for some time and it felt good to finally get the chance again.”
It would seem as though things went from “zero to sixty” the second that Palelei signed with Paradigm Sports Management, a U.S based Sports Management company who Palelei is more than happy with, “It was time for a change and I chose these guys because they treat you like a family and they represent not only fighters but a wide range of athletes, they go the extra mile and I am looking forward to seeing where things go.”
Soon after the news of his signing had hit the various social media channels, more news was broken by leading Australian MMA website, Fight News Australia that Palelei would be likely to face Stipe Miocic (9-1) at the UFC 161 event slated for June 15th. Earlier today the UFC confirmed the rumour and Palelei was excited about the match-up. “He’s a good fighter with some good stand-up, it’s going to be a great fight and it’s great to be fighting a top opponent. The UFC only take on the best guys so I have a ton of respect for anybody that they put me against.”
Although a multi-fight deal has been signed Palelei wants to leave no doubt that he deserves to be at the top of the Heavyweight division, after seeing the highlight reel knockout from close friend Mark Hunt over the weekend, Palelei wants to impress inside the cage. “It’s MMA and anything can happen, who knows he (Miocic) might even walk out with a bonus too,” he laughed.
Training is set to be the next big hurdle, Palelei takes pride in his fitness and cardio and works hard to keep in shape, “I have to get down to 120kg now,” he laughed, Palelei walks around at around 130kg but was confident with the weight cut. “I can cut 10 kilos in a matter of two days, I am confident I can make the weight, it’s all about focus and I have no problem with that,” he explained. On the training for his return to the UFC, Palelei hinted that he would not be leaving the country. “I am going to go between here (Perth) and Sydney, there are a lot of great heavyweight fighters in Sydney to spar with, like Mark Hunt and Peter Graham and being in Sydney I will have access to some pretty good heavyweight boxers. With him (Miocic) being a stand-up fighter there is no use travelling around the world when there are so many great stand-up sparring partners in Australia,” he concluded.
There are many people that have helped “The Hulk” in his quest to return to the UFC, some of his valued sponsors include; Mack Boots, Southern Crossfit, Hotmetal Design, Gobsmacked Mouthguards and Limousine Excursions. Some of the people who have helped Palelei excel at his profession are, Glenn McEwan, Paul Oreb and Cade Brown who are Palelei’s kickboxing coach, boxing coach and BJJ partner respectively, also Jon Tan – The Chiropractor and of course Nidia and her team who take care of the day to day running of Palelei’s busy PR schedule.
Be sure to catch “The Return of the Hulk” on June 15th to see firsthand just what “smashing time” is all about!