Australian heavyweight Justin Tafa is set to run it back with Austen Lane at UFC 293 in Sydney this weekend, looking to make right an unfortunate No Contest that transpired earlier this year.
There’s another fight, or more accurately another event, that Tafa (6-3, 1NC) is looking forward to. Not a specific Pay-Per-View or Fight Night, but rather, sharing a UFC card with brother Junior.
That was supposed to transpire at UFC 284 earlier this year, but unfortunately, it didn’t come to pass. It remains a massive goal for the “Bad Man,” however.
“Massive. That’s just a goal of ours,” Tafa stated during this week’s UFC 293 media day. “We fought together on amateur shows, community centres, and then a bit bigger and a bit bigger, and now this is the pinnacle of combat sports. To do that, only a few families have been able to do that, so it will just be history.”
For now, Justin Tafa will have to accept going it alone. Brother Junior fought a couple of weeks ago in Singapore, while Justin has the Lane rematch. In the pair’s initial meeting, an eye poke rendered him unable to continue. That switched things up a little in training camp.
“Obviously I limited my sparring this time around, because of the eye injury,” noted Tafa. “And just made sure I came in as best prepped as I can.”
Admitting that the do-over was a blessing in disguise after spending five weeks bedridden ahead of the first fight with Lane, Tafa also revealed that he wasn’t really interested in the rematch all that much. But a few words from one of Lane’s coaches changed his mind.
“Honestly I didn’t want it, I was like ‘oh well.’ But then his coach started talking sh*t. I was like ‘first of all, you’re a jiu-jitsu coach talking about striking.’ The man’s probably never been jabbed in his life,” Tafa stated. “That’s the only reason why. You’re going to crop the result of your coaches talking sh*t.”
There’s no ill will towards Austen Lane himself, Tafa added. “He’s a good dude, made a mistake. But talking smack and thinking nothing will happen…”
Tafa trailed off. You probably, however, get the point.
Watch the full UFC 293 media day appearance by Justin Tafa above.