Thomas Gifford will make his promotional debut this weekend on the main card of UFC Fort Lauderdale after 26 professional fights.
Thomas Gifford will make his Octagon debut this weekend at UFC Fort Lauderdale. But “The Young Lion” is far from a novice.
Gifford, 26, has a wealth of experience for a fighter his age. He is a veteran of 26 fights and has spent the early part of his career fighting wherever the money would take him. Often times that was across the country, from Brush Creek, Arkansas, to this weekend in Sunrise, Flordia.
Although Gifford has not competed in the UFC as of yet, he has attended events. Most recently UFC Nashville, he got the V.I.P. treatment and all.
“I went to UFC Nashville to try and get a lay of the land and to see what I would have to go through and what everything would be like,” Gifford told Cageside Press in a recent interview.
“It was a little intense, a little crazy. Because once the main card starts and I’m the first fight on the main card, that place is completely packed in full of people yelling and screaming the lights are going crazy. It’s a bigger stage than anything.”
“I think I’m more prepared for that than anything because I’ve been through it a lot. Nerves don’t really get me, except for the fact that I don’t want to get knocked out in front of thousands of people”
For Gifford who boasts a 17-7 record, getting to the UFC was a long time coming. Now that he has made it, he doesn’t plan on letting off the gas. And for “The Young Lion” that means from the very beginning of the fight.
“After the first punch nerves will go away and everything will be fine,” Gifford explained. “The butterflies are gone and at that point its nothing but anger and adrenaline.”
Gifford is currently riding one of the most impressive winning streaks of his career with five straight. It’s not so much the number of victories but the manner. He has finished four of those five fights, with three of his opponents not even making out of the first round.
Fighting is something that Gifford is good at. He has been doing it a long time. He is a part of this new generation of fighters who grew up not ever knowing a world without MMA or the UFC. So Gifford’s 17-7 record could be a bit misleading.
“I’ve been fighting since I was 13 years old,” Gifford said. “I’ve had over 60 amateur boxing matches, I had 13 amateur MMA fights, I had three or four kickboxing matches, I’ve had five pro boxing matches, and I have 26 pro MMA fights.”
“Experience is an easy thing for me to have. Because I have been doing nothing but fighting and trying to make this statement right here, and try and make it to the UFC. Since I was 13-years-old, I wanted to be a professional fighter in the biggest league I could ever be in. And I’m finally here.”
Thomas Gifford makes his UFC debut on the main card of UFC Fort Lauderdale. The event (also known as UFC Fight Night 150 / UFC on ESPN+ 8) takes place Saturday, April 27 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.