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After producing their first of what would be many empty stadium shows in Brazil back in March, the UFC pressed on, hellbent on putting a show together in London’s O2 Arena.
Not only was the show supposed to be a chance for Leon Edwards to make his statement against former champion Tyron Woodley, but it was set to be the debut for a handful of Brits and other Europeans.
Among that group was Jai Herbert, a former Cage Warriors lightweight champion riding a six-fight win streak (five of which were by stoppage). When the call finally came in that the UFC would have to cancel the fight card due to the COVID pandemic, Herbert, like a lot of the fighters on the card, was not happy. Although he was not able to make his debut close to home, he has found the positives in the situation.
“It was quite a big blow to me, but you know I just tried to take the positives from there. I had a really good camp and I made some really good progressions in my own training in different areas,” he said. “So I’ll just have to look at it that way”
Not only were there positives as far as his growth as a fighter, but Herbert also was able to heal up a bit - being as he was not 100% going into that fight.
“I was carrying a lot of injuries going into that fight to be honest,” he said. “So I was a bit of a broken man, but they’ve all healed up now and I’m really fresh and ready to go.”
And the bright side of things doesn’t end there. With professional growth and chance to heal up for Herbert also came a chance to spend some quality time at home, which was something that could not have had better timing.
“My son was born like a month after, so I try to look at the bright side of things. I spent a lot of time in camp and away from my family, so yeah, I had a nice time to relax, chill out and recuperate,” Herbert shared. “[He came] and I’m looking to build a future for my family as well. So basically that's even more motivation.”
Although the postponement of his debut was ultimately a blessing in disguise, Herbert is now chomping at the bit to show the world what he can do. Surrounded by some of his countrymen on Fight Island, including headliner Darren Till, Herbert could not be more ready.
“These opportunities came up to fight on Fight Island and I’m just raring to go now,” he said.