Westcott ready to rumble in China
UFC fighter from St. Albert taking the next step after reality show success
Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 06:00 am
Sheldon Westcott doesn’t believe in the home-crowd advantage.
On Aug. 23, the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) fighter will travel halfway across the world to take on undefeated Hong Kong fighter Alberto Mina (10-0-0) in Macau. Macau is a special administrative region in China and the biggest gambling centre in the world.
“That kind of thing doesn’t bother me,” said Westcott. “I’m going to be at peak condition and ready for anything.”
Westcott is (8-2-1) in the UFC. He garnered attention on The Ultimate Fighter reality show when he tapped out fellow competitor Vik Grujic with a Von Flue choke in the semifinals. The rare submission has only been completed three times in UFC history.
“Somebody showed me the choke years back when I first started training,” said Westcott. “It was before Jason Von Flue popularized it and gave it a name, so it’s a tool I’ve had for awhile. It catches a lot of people by surprise.”
Mina is Westcott’s first fight back after losing by TKO in April to Elias Theodorou in The Ultimate Fighter finals. It was an exciting back-and-forth fight that earned both men UFC contracts.
“There’s been a little bit of fame after the show,” said Westcott. “People know me and want to talk to me but I’m just a regular guy. My friends before the show are still my friends now.”
Mina and Westcott will be meeting at Westcott’s traditional weight class, 170 pounds (welterweight). During the Ultimate Fighter tournament Westcott fought at 185 pounds (middleweight) to ensure he wouldn’t accidentally come in heavy.
“I feel fine with it,” said Westcott. “On the show we had to do three weight cuts in a short period of time and I wasn’t comfortable with cutting down to 170 pounds that frequently. I think welterweight is the best division in the world right now and I love the challenge of it. It’s a better weight for me.”
Westcott walks around at about 200 pounds when he isn’t in training camp and isn’t opposed to taking on a bigger opponent. His first and only boxing match was at heavyweight.
“I had always wanted to have a boxing match,” said Westcott. “The problem is that once you’ve had a professional fight in MMA you can’t apply for an amateur licence in boxing. That’s crazy to me. They’re totally different sports and at the time MMA didn’t even have amateur fights.”
KO Boxing Promotions in Edmonton heard that Westcott was interested and approached him after one of their fighters pulled out of a competition.
“I had maybe four or five days notice,” said Westcott. “But it was at heavyweight so I didn’t have to cut any weight. I thought I should do it.”
Westcott won the fight by TKO in the first round. A fast starter, five of his MMA wins have come in the first minute of round one.
“That’s just how I fight,” said Westcott. “I just go out there and I look for a finish early. I want people to be excited when they come to see me.”
Westcott held back on predicting the outcome of his fight with Mina but said fans should definitely tune in.
“I’m going to come straight at him. It’ll be a good one.”