New Zealand prospect Shane Young (11-4) makes his return to the UFC octagon against Filipino Rolando Dy at UFC Singapore on June 24 (AU).
In his last outing at UFC Sydney in November, Young made his promotional debut against Alexander Volkanovski on just eight days’ notice. Despite losing a unanimous decision, the 24-year-old has taken the fight in his stride.
“I wasn’t discouraged at all by the loss,” Young said. “In hindsight, it let me realise where I stand against world-class opponents in the UFC and I think it’s pretty high considering what I could do on eight days against a top 15 guy in Volko.”
Now, with the time to prepare for his upcoming fight against Dy, Young says it feels like he’s about to make his real UFC debut.
“I feel really, really good. Everything’s going well in camp. I’m getting a lot of inspiration in lots of weird places,” Young said. “Everything’s going dope but I’m ready for it to not feel this good at points in the lead up. But I just know that four more weeks of hard training is gonna make me better and better.”
One source of that inspiration was a recent conversation with an elderly Māori lady on the street whom he met after diffusing an altercation some time ago.
“I had stopped this guy like assaulting some people ages and ages ago, and she saw that and she gave me a talk then. And then I saw her again the other day and we had another fat jam. And she was just telling me basically that I’m special and stuff like that,” Young said with a laugh. “And I was just like, ‘Ohhh okay, shot lady.’”
That incident, Young said, involved a man causing a disturbance at a café managed by some friends. Young said he took the man down after he’d grabbed a chair to wield.
“He was like insulting this Polynesian man and he was drunk and being disorderly,” Young said. “Then he went and got a little bit physical and I just stepped in and calmed the situation down a little.”
Young also draws inspiration from the team surrounding him every day at City Kickboxing where he trains in Auckland, comparing them to superheroes.
“It’s just a real dope environment to be in all day, every day. I kind of have to pinch myself sometimes. We’ll even be in sessions – I’m shadow boxing – I look over, there’s Brad Riddell, there’s Dan Hooker, there’s Kai [Kara France], there’s Israel [Adesanya], there’s King in the Ring champions, like Carlos Ulberg, Davor Matarugic.”
Rolando “The Incredible” Dy (9-6, 1 NC) is 1-2 in his UFC stint, losing via TKO (doctor stoppage) to Alex Caceres and a decision to Teruto Ishihara before picking up a decision win against Wuliji Buren in November last year. Young is confident with how his skills match-up with those of Dy.
“I’ve watched all of his UFC fights once and that was all I needed. I know he’s a good match up for me.”
More than having a strategy for this fight, he hopes to showcase the diversity of his game.
“No game plan, just dominate in every aspect,” said Young. “I’m gonna Volko him. I’m gonna Alex Volkanovski him, with more stand up.”
“I do wanna get a bit of ring time in there and just have fun with it. Because last time wasn’t fun time.”
After this bout, Young is looking for a quick turnaround, hoping for two more fights this year.
UFC Singapore or UFC Fight Night 132 will be held at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on Sunday June 24 (AU). The card will be headlined by a welterweight bout between Donald Cerrone and Leon Edwards.