TYSON Pedro and Tai Tuivasa are brothers-in-law from Sydney’s western suburbs, and they’re looking to inspire an Australian takeover of the UFC.
For the first time, the pair will be fighting on the same card, with both Pedro and Tuivasa set to take part in UFC 221 in Perth this weekend, as they aim to propel themselves to the top of the organisation.
It’s not often you see two relatives — or, in this case, a set of brothers-in-law — perform on the same evening on a UFC stage, and Tuivasa takes pride in being able to do just that alongside Pedro.
“To be on the same card as my brother-in-law is massive, for me and my family, and for Australia.” he told foxsports.com.au.
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Pedro, the 13th ranked light heavyweight, hopes he and Tuivasa can rise up the UFC ranks together, following the trail blazed by Aussie interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
“It’s been so fast, but can you imagine on the front of the paper, or even in the back, two UFC belts over our shoulders standing together?” Pedro told foxsports.com.au. “That’s the dream.”
“Against all odds, being two kids from Sydney’s west, and being on the biggest show in the world, on pay-per-view, and on the first card in Perth.
“We just keep dreaming bigger, and training harder and we’ll get there.”
Pedro, 26, is coming off the first loss of his UFC career to Ilir Latifi in September of last year, but believes that was an important step in his development.
“I went straight back to the gym, started focusing on myself. This camp has been on point because of it,” Pedro said of his loss.
“I didn’t get upset or anything about the loss, I learnt more about myself and more from that fight than many of the other times in my life. We all take losses every day…it’s about taking that loss in stride and moving forward.”
Pedro will take on unranked Russian brawler Saparbek Safarov on the main card, and is already plotting his route to the top of the division – with 2019 representing a target year.
“2019’s my year,” Pedro said.
“No.1. 100 per cent.”
And the opportunity to make a statement alongside each other is a dream scenario for the two Aussies, who also host a podcast together.
“It’s disappointing that Rob (Whittaker) isn’t on there, but I can’t ask for a better card,” Pedro said.
“This has always been a dream to fight on the same card. I wanted to fight on the same card as him (Tuivasa) a year ago when we were fighting in the AFC (Australian Fighting Championship), now we’re fighting on the main card of the UFC, on pay-per-view. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.”
It is a remarkable rise, especially for former rugby league prodigy Tai Tuivasa, who only made his UFC debut in November in the prelims of Fight Night 121 in Sydney.
A stunning flying knee knockout saw heavyweight Tuivasa — also known as ‘Bam Bam’ — live up to his frightening reputation, and he will now fight Frenchman Cyril Asker on the same main card as his role model and training partner Mark Hunt.
“Massive for me, it’s a dream come true. To have an idol, and a person I really look up to, someone that’s taken me under their wing,” Tuivasa told foxsports.com.au.
“I dreamt about it, it’s come true.”
And despite being relatively raw in the UFC world, Tuivasa is certain that his path leads to the top of the heavyweight division.
“I wouldn’t be wasting my time trying to do something if I didn’t want to be the best,” Tuivasa said.
“We’re (Tuivasa and Pedro) here to be the best and take on the best, so that’s definitely the plan, and that’s how it’s going to be.”
Both Pedro and Tuivasa have big aspirations for MMA in Australia, and are thrilled with the progress the sport has made in such a short period of time.
“It’s going to be massive. I’ve noticed a massive shift in the media here, and I’m very grateful for it,” Pedro explained.
“It’s exciting times because we’re part of the generation that’s going to put MMA into every household in Australia.”