One of the highlight fights in the British welterweight division is set to take place this weekend at Ultimate Challenge with current champion John “The One” Maguire squaring off against TUF veteran Dean Amasinger.
“I know Dean is a confident, tough guy, and I don’t for one second think I am going to run through him. I think we are both very evenly matched,” explained Maguire, although he believes he has the edge over his opponent in technical prowess.
“My boxing has come along a lot. I am getting better in that aspect and I think that I edge him in every other range. He is a strong person, but I know I am more technical off my back, better in top position, and more than comfortable with the wrestling. In fact, I don’t really care where the fight goes.”
For those that don’t know, Amasinger and Maguire have been friends on the scene for a long time and they have always joked that at some point they were going to fight, ever since the latter dropped to 170 pounds following a loss to BAMMA champion Tom “Kong” Watson. For this reason, you probably won’t find any smack talk between the two; there is a lot of respect there, but not enough to dilute a fight.
“I know Dean looked really rusty in his last fight against Jamaine Facey and I know that was because it was his first fight back from a broken arm. I had the same injury myself after the Watson fight so I know exactly what he went through, but I also know that has got over that doubt and he will be much stronger now.”
The fight with Amasinger is to defend one of the two belts Maguire currently holds on the U.K. scene, the second one is for the OMMAC promotion in Liverpool. But it’s getting to the point where Maguire feels that he needs to make a jump internationally to progress, and he thought he almost had that opportunity when he was called back to the U.S. for the medical process after a successful showing in the current TUF trials.
“I was gutted when I was told I wasn’t selected, but it was a good experience and I managed to spend every day I was out there in Vegas training out of Wanderlei Silva’s gym. It has prompted me to look at training with different people and expanding my horizons while trying to getting bigger fights.”
This experience of a new training regimen has filtered through to this camp, with Maguire taking himself off to Sweden and August Wallen’s facility before coming back to Team Tsunami for final preparations with his usual guys.
“Sweden was fantastic. I’ve had a really good camp with them, lots of guys with different body types, which I prefer. I’ve been doing two two-hour sessions each day, covering sparring and techniques, then cardio drills after, literally living in the gym because of the fighter accommodation set-up they have.”
With about 25-30 pro fighters to exchange with, the former middleweight feels that Amasinger’s blatant strength will not come as anything new to him.
“I worked a lot in Sweden with this 130kg Greco-Roman guy who had twice been to the Olympics. So size isn’t an issue for me; besides, I used to be a small middleweight back when I was fighting at that class anyway. Having Jack Mason in the camp knowing what my weaknesses are is always good, I don’t think he will be as strong as Jack.”
In closing, Maguire feels as ready as he’s ever going to be for a fight, he has some new skills in his arsenal and is close to weight already. All his attentions are on this showdown and then after that he will be looking at making an international impression.
“I would love to rematch with Simeon Thoresen, that fight really bugs me as I feel we were a round even, but I should have edged it at the end of the first with a takedown. Shame he doesn’t want to fight me again though… aside from that, I just want tough fights with named guys.”