Lee Chadwick is counting down the days until he can get his hands on the prestigious Cage Warriors title on Saturday, when he takes on Victor Cheng for the vacant middleweight title at the Echo Arena in his hometown of Liverpool.
“The Butcher” is established as one of the sport’s most popular figures in the UK and is preparing to put on an explosive performance, adding that Cheng will not get in the way of him crowning his 12 year career with a big title victory.
The 32-year-old, who has compiled a record of 23-13-1, believes the passionate fanbase in Liverpool, which was on full display in his last fight back in April, will drive him on to capturing the gold, as he looks towards a potential future in the UFC.
Chadwick said: “The Cage Warriors belt is the biggest in the UK and one of the most prestigious in Europe and it would really crown 12 years of hard graft, with plenty of ups and downs. To do it in Liverpool as well, just makes it all the sweeter.
“Victor Cheng is a good stand-up fighter, who likes to move around and pick his shots, but he’s decent on the ground too, where he tries to smother his opponents. However, I’ve got the tools, both on the ground and on the feet, to get the better of him and I’m really looking forward to Saturday.
“It’ll be explosive and I’ll come and give it absolutely everything, throwing bombs to get my hands on that title. It will be the best feeling ever to get my hands on that belt because all you need to do is look at the former champions and see where they are now.
“The Echo is a great venue and last time there was a complete sellout, where they all got behind us and drove us on. That’s the sort of fanbase that is in the city and it’ll be amazing to be there in the cage at the end with that title. It’s within my grasp and I just need to grab it now.”
Chadwick was quick to pay tribute to Cage Warriors and the way they have helped the fighters along the way. He also confirmed that once he has the title, he will be looking to defend the belt in February when the promotion returns to the Echo.
The veteran also admitted he is enjoying the new level of competition coming into the sport, as it means he is raising his game constantly and always learning, as the new breed of fighter comes into the ranks.
That includes adapting his fighting style in training, whilst also maintaining that he keeps working on his skills that have got him this far, a factor he says that plenty of fighters forget along the way.
“Cage Warriors are one of the most professional promotions out there. They’re run properly and put a lot into all the fighters, helping us get our names out there, particularly in Liverpool, and get more exposure. They really get it and working with them makes the fights bigger and therefore us bigger, which is part and parcel of the sport.
“The sport is getting bigger all the time and the competition is rising on an almost weekly basis. A lot of young fighters have been training specifically in MMA, so these purists are doing well, whereas before it was just a certain skill against another one. My original basis is my striking, with Thai boxing and straight boxing, but I’ve worked hard on other elements over the years.
“You can’t forget the gift you have been given and got to keep your base, alongside learning new aspects. Look at some wrestlers for example, who get a knockout and they’re looking for it every fight from then on, ignoring they’re pedigree.
“Yes, you have to do whatever it takes to win in MMA and being in exciting fights is what people want to see. But, winning comes before everything else and that is first and foremost the most important focus for me on Saturday. I’m counting down the days now and it can’t come soon enough.”