Having established himself as someone to watch on the amateur circuit in 2019, light-heavyweight Zac Pauga was looking to make 2020 a big first year as a pro, but things did not work out as he anticipated.
With Covid-19 wreaking havoc with scheduling, Pauga was only able to get in one bout in 2020, but still he looks at the positives the year provided him even with the lack of activity.
“Last year was a little frustrating for me,” Pauga told MMAWeekly.com. “I wanted to fight a lot and kind of make a name for myself. That obviously didn’t happen. I only got in one pro fight for the year.
“I was lucky to be part of Team Elevation. We kept training. We broke into small groups and just did what we could to get better. I felt like I’m definitely way better right now than if I had the busy year that I wanted.”
In terms of his game, Pauga feels like he added a skillset to his already formidable natural talents to make him more than a match for anyone he faces.
“Athleticism, strength, and power will always be part of my game,” said Pauga. “That’s what I leaned on heavily early in my fight career, but now I have the skills to back it up to match some of these guys who have been doing it their whole life.”
On Friday in Park City, Kansas, Pauga (2-0) will look to kick off his 2021 in a big way when he faces Ashby Thomas (1-0) in an LFA 98 main card light heavyweight bout.
“For where I want to go and what I want to do I want to make a statement,” Pauga said. “I want to move fast and make a name for myself, so I’ve got to go out there and be entertaining and make a statement, and that’s what I plan on doing.
“I don’t know much about (Thomas), so it’s more about being the best version of myself: come forward, throw big shots, get him on the ground and try to finish him with either a sub or ground and pound.”
After having his 2020 campaign derailed, Pauga is set on making up for it in 2021, working his way up the ranks as quickly as he can.
“I want to fight early and I want to fight often,” said Pauga.
“I’m not overlooking this one, but I’d like to fight again at the end of February or at the beginning of March. I’d like to have two or three fights before summer even. That’s my plan, that’s what I want, so I can move fast and make a name for myself, and show these bigger organizations what I can do.”
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