Not only will the March 25 M-1 Challenge event be the first exposure for the company on a major American pay network, it will also be the first time middleweight title contender Tyson Jeffries gets major television exposure.
While it would be easy for a fighter to become overwhelmed by such circumstances, Jeffries doesn’t seem to be showing any symptoms of such.
“I feel blessed and honored to be part of M-1,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “To have them broadcast on Showtime is amazing to me. It’s my first national broadcast fighting in front of everybody.
“I’m just taking it all in and am just really focused on the fight and am readier than ever.”
After having some difficulty at the beginning of his career, Jeffries managed to right the ship last year – he’s on a three-fight winning streak – en route to winning M-1’s Selections America tournament with the help of his Team Quest trainers.
“To be honest, it was just my training schedule that’s been different,” admitted Jeffries. “I’ve put in the time my last few fights and just taking it a little more seriously than before. These last few fights I’ve progressed and got the discipline I needed to develop as a fighter and a man.
“I’ve been focusing on controlling the range, controlling the pace of the fight, sprinting when I need to and wrestling when I have to. Just focusing on getting on top and grinding the guy out – that’s our style, that’s what we do – and I’ve been working with the best guys at it.”
When he steps back into the ring for M-1 in Norfolk, Va., on March 25, he will be going after the promotion’s vacant middleweight championship. Standing in his way is top contender , who will be making his second attempt at procuring the title.
“I know what he’s capable of,” said Jeffries. “He’s a hard hitter, he sits in the pocket, likes the hard kicks, and wants to keep it standing or get on top. As for me, I’m just going to try to get on top and grind him out. I’m not really worried about him. I just know what I’ve got to do.”
While Matt Lindland is known for his wrestling prowess, Jeffries credits him for helping develop a striking style he hopes will be able to counter Sultanakhmedov’s.
“I’ve been working my angles and moving my feet and not staying in one spot,” commented Jeffries. “The only time I get hit is when I stand right in front of the guy and wait for him to move, so we’ve been working on moving my feet, cutting angles and executing the takedown.”
As Jeffries notes, not only is this a fight for a title in a major promotion, it is also an important part of his development as a fighter.
“This is my right of passage,” he stated. “This is my next step. Magomed is my next barrier, and I’ve got to bust through him.
“I want to excel in this sport and make a name for myself. As long as I fight the toughest guys, take the toughest fights, and give my all and fight my hardest, I’ll be right where I need to be.”
While he’s still a young, developing fighter, Jeffries can prove such things have no bearing on the summits he’s able to conquer, starting with the M-1 middleweight tile on March 25.
“I just want to thank Dirty Boxer; Mike Dolce and DolceDiet.com; Team Quest and my coaches: Ryan Schultz, Matt Lindland and Chael Sonnen; and all my friends, family and fans for supporting me,” he concluded.
“It doesn’t matter, win, lose or draw, as long as I go out there and focus on putting on a good performance and impose my will, everything will work out in the end.”