Ahead of his last fight at Eternal MMA 53, Australian prospect Jack Della Maddalena knew he was getting close to a potential contract with the UFC but he also wasn’t rushing things.
At the time, Della Maddalena was a fast-rising star in his native country but he was also working a full-time job where he analyzed payment invoices while also attending college to seek a degree in property and finance. While fighting was always what he loved to do most, the 9-2 welterweight was realistic enough to know that he couldn’t forgo his future without first securing the present.
So following a first-round knockout win, Della Maddalena decided to quit working his day job and put his full focus on training and preparation in order to get ready for a shot at the big league.
“I’m still in college working on the degree but my job now is basically fighting,” Della Maddalena told MMA Fighting. “This year, I’ve had a good time dialing into fight mode.
“I haven’t had to worry about a job. Just a little bit of coaching here and there and it’s obviously made a lot of difference with recovery, dieting that sort of thing. No job, a little bit of study and just balls to the wall in MMA.”
Despite his impressive resume with all nine career wins coming by way of knockout or submission, Della Maddalena had never had the chance to only focus on fighting until this year.
He never complained about having a full-time job on top of his training schedule but he can’t deny the added benefit where MMA is now the only occupation that matters.
“The training — I could always train — I always had the ability to push even when I’m tired but now not having to schedule my training around work,” Della Maddalena said. “Now I basically schedule my whole life around training.
“So I get a lot more rest, better nutrition, the whole lot so it’s the best I’ve ever been. I feel like it’s worked out for me but I guess we’ll find out.”
The proving ground for Della Maddalena to find out if he’s ready to graduate from the regional MMA scene to the UFC will come on Tuesday night when he competes as part of the latest installment of Dana White’s Contender Series.
Taking on Sanford MMA fighter Ange Loosa, Della Maddalena has the chance to impress the UFC matchmakers with his performance but he also knows that there are certain expectations that come along with an appearance on the Contender Series.
UFC President Dana White has never been shy when pointing out the kinds of fighters he’s looking to sign — particularly those who come to put on an exciting show and a highlight reel finish certainly never hurts.
Della Maddalena expects to deliver both.
“If I can have a fight that’s going to secure that spot [on the UFC roster], then sign me up,” Della Maddalena said. “I was into it. It seems like an awesome opportunity. The way the show is I think is cool. The set up with no crowd or no crazy entrance. Just get in there and have a fight. It’s something that I’m looking forward to and having that experience.
“I think it is [a great way to be introduced to the UFC]. My style, I don’t want to win a decision. It’s definitely not something I want to do. For me to get the goal done and get that win, that means a finish. So I will be looking for that finish from the get go. Happy to get a finish later in the fight. Happy to get one early but my No. 1 goal is the finish.”
While the Contender Series will give Della Maddalena the chance to earn a UFC contract, he also understands that a win or even a loss won’t guarantee his future in the promotion.
Not everyone gets signed to the UFC no matter the outcome of a single fight plus there’s a long list of athletes who came up short on the show yet found themselves with a contract weeks later when a short notice opportunity was available.
That said, Della Maddalena embraces the expectations that come along with the Contender Series because he’s not looking to waste the opportunity with some kind of dwindling hope that he might get to fight in the UFC one day.
“I feel my style, I’m the sort of person who’s going to bring it,” Della Maddalena said. “I’m a good fighter, I’ve got good eyes, I’m going to bring the fight. To be honest, I’m going to get that contract if I show up and perform as I always do.
“For me, it seems cool having that added pressure like this is it. This is the opportunity. I look forward to the experience and the fight. There’s always pressure. You always have different sorts of pressure and this just joins the list but I love it.”