The advent of the amateur ranks in MMA is nothing new. Amateur fights and even whole promotions for amateur MMA have been along for nearly as long as the sport itself.
However, with the broadcasting of amateur fights on places like FloCombat, UFC Fight Pass and more, there seems to be a new emphasis on just how important it can be to a fighters career. Jack Shore, who gets the call to make his UFC debut this weekend in Copenhagen, credits his extensive time as an amateur as one of the reasons he’s been so successful.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, my amateur career contributed massively to my career as a pro,” Shore said. “My last 4 fights took place in the European Championship for the IMMAF [International Mixed Martial Arts Federation], where I won gold. I truly fought 4 guys there who were top level amateurs, who were world class amateurs.”
Before turning to the pro side of things, Shore racked up an undefeated record in 12 amateur fights. While the skill of those last 4 opponents contributed to his growth, he feels that the time on the local circuit, no matter who it is against, is just as important.
“It put me in good stead for the pro ranks - it boosted my confidence. The extensive amateur career, I think, allows you to get out all your mistakes, and all your nerves and stuff like that,” Shore said of his time on the local UK fight cards. “Some guys will have just 2 or 3 amateur fights, they jump in at pro, and they are still learning. There are a lot of guys who train with me who haven’t had that many amateur fights and they’ve gone pro and are learning on the job.”
Although it’s not completely commonplace to see a long amateur career, Shore does see a shift towards more of that. Some of that is due to the increased exposure, but also due to the work these promotions are doing to promote young fighter’s growth.
“I think where MMA is growing and getting bigger now, times are changing obviously,” Shore shared. “It’s a little bit more like boxing in the sense that the amateur guys are not in a rush to turn pro. You’ve got the IMMAF, you’ve got the Cage Warriors Grand Prix, you got a lot of good amateur shows locally that are looking at putting a lot of time and development into these amateurs.”
And while Shore is complementary of what the amateur ranks did for him personally, he hasn’t forgotten the other places where he’s honed his craft - especially not the one that has been home to the last 10 of his professional fights, Cage Warriors.
“It definitely gives me extra confidence, if I’m honest. Look at the track record of the stars that have come from Cage Warriors: Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy, Conor McGregor, Joanna Jedrzeczyk. There’s plenty of talent that has come from there,” he said. “There the biggest promotion in Europe, so the opposition I’ve been facing in Cage Warriors has been the toughest available. It’s instilled confidence in me that I’m ready for that next level.”
Shore will carry that confidence from the amateur ranks and professional alike into the octagon this weekend as part of the preliminary card of UFC in Copenhagen.