It’s with great pleasure I am writing this blog today. I am so happy to be able to say that Australian MMA pioneer Callan Potter got his call up to the UFC. Finally. If this blog could show emotion, it would be jumping up and down with delight. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of “The Rockstar”. My wife is actually sick of me getting emotional about him not getting his shot at the big show (True story. Ask me what happened the next time you see me).
In 2015, Callan dropped from welterweight to lightweight and went on an eight-fight win streak, toppling some of the biggest names in the country and winning just about all the big belts in the process. He is the Valor champion, Hex champion and Eternal champion. He has beaten just about everybody relevant in the lightweight division on Australian soil. Names like Jack Becker, Isaac Tisdell, Brentin Mumford and Abel Brites. For those that know the sport here down under, that is a who’s who of lightweight studs.
Unfortunately, Callan’s first foray onto the world stage didn’t go so well and it seemed like all his hard work over the last three years may go to waste. He lost to Marcin Held at ACB 88 by heel hook in June last year. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying that he isn’t getting any younger, so the road to get back in contention for the UFC was looking long.
After the loss, he booked a fight on a new MMA promotion. He was to fight at welterweight against talented kiwi B.J. Bland, out of the now famous City Kickboxing gym. Unfortunately, said promotion cancelled the show just a couple of weeks out. I have always said that I am in this sport for the fighters. Many believe promoters are solely in it for the money (which is ironic, as there isn’t a massive amount about), but I believe the majority of promoters I have come across genuinely care about the future of the sport. And I got a chance to prove it.
I was flying to Adelaide for the UFC and when I touched down my phone blew up with messages from fighters from the cancelled show trying to get rematched on Eternal. Our card happened to be on the same date, just in Perth, not Melbourne. Obviously, we couldn’t match them all, but we did manage to save Callan’s fight. It definitely wasn’t a financial win, bringing a guy from Melbourne and a guy from New Zealand to Perth, but Callan had hoped that a win ahead of UFC 234 in Melbourne would make him a likely option should someone fall off the card. Plus, he’d spent years fighting everyone and anyone put in front of him – not always the norm in Australian MMA – and if anyone deserved accommodating, it was him. Thankfully, everyone else was on board, too.
Callan vs. B.J. was never going to be anything less than fireworks. The pair stood in the centre of the cage and beat each other black and blue (and a heavy splash of red) for way less than they deserved. Callan achieved his objective and won a very close decision. It was a spectacular fight and the perfect end to a huge 2018 and Callan’s career on the national circuit.
No one in Australia deserves a shot more than Callan does. I am gutted for Alex Gorgees who had to withdraw from the fight, but he will be back. For now, it’s time to celebrate one of the true Aussie MMA battlers. Mr Potter is a gentleman, but when the cage door closes, he is a monster. He’s a BJJ blackbelt with submissions over top-quality opposition, and at 70kg, he carries the power to remove a man from his senses with little difficulty. Let’s hope his UFC 234 opponent Jalin Turner is better than his 7-4 record, otherwise I fear Callan’s debut won’t last long. I can guarantee I will be pacing up and down my living room watching this great man make the most of his opportunity. Callan Potter, I salute you, sir. Congratulations on signing with the world’s premier MMA organization. You only went and did it!
The EMG Blog is a space for colourful takes on the weird and wonderful world of MMA. The views and opinions expressed within are solely those of the individual contributors and not EMG.