Toronto – UFC welterweight Mike Malott gets a home game of sorts when he faces Neil Magny at UFC 297 on Saturday night.
“It stands out as a very different fight week in a couple obvious ways. My parents live down the street, 40 minutes away, so I’m staying at my parents house pretty much all fight week. Driving in in the mornings and having dinner and coffee at my parents house,” Malott told reporters including Cageside Press on Wednesday.
“Getting to do our nightly workouts at one of my home gyms, the Grappling Garden in Hamilton, I’ve got all of my coaches with me they’re sleeping in their own beds.”
As comfortable as it is fighting at home it can bring a different type of pressure to a fighter. Malott insists that there is no extra pressure on him during this fight week.
“What pressure dude? On Saturday night I’m going to have 20 thousand people chanting for me and screaming my name. That’s support not pressure. This is privilege not pressure. I’ve been wanting to do this my whole life. This is something I’ve spent the last 20 years preparing to do, and visualizing, and in my mind manifesting,” said Malott.
If anything it’s been a dream for him to fight at ScotiaBank Arena which used to be known as Air Canada Center (ACC).
“Like you said we’re fighting at ScotiaBank, but everybody knows this is the ACC right? I’ve said it a couple times this week the best day of every year when I was a kid was the day that my dad would come home from work and be like ‘alright put the books down. I got tickets from work to go see the Leafs play tonight. You and I are going’,” Malott told Cageside Press.
“And just seeing these men who seemed like super heroes to me as a kid just skating unbelievably quickly, hitting each other like super physical, fighting on the ice. Seeing that in person is completely different than watching it on tv.”
The dream to represent Canada in a big fight at home means a lot to Malott.
“To get to represent my country and fight in my country in this stadium, because this is the stadium to me. The stadium to me is ScotiaBank Arena, ACC, this is our home. Getting to fight in this arena, on a main card of a pay-per-view, in the UFC for my ranked position…dude it doesn’t get any better than this,” Malott said.
Opposite Malott will be Magny who is a well-respected veteran who seems to get called out more than anyone else. Magny is ranked, is the welterweight wins leader, fights leader, so a victory over him means a on a anyone’s resume.
“It’ll be excellent to have that under my belt. Like you said an extra feather on my cap. I respect the guy, he’s a solid fighter, doesn’t really matter to me man. I’ve fought tough guys my entire career and it tells me I’m doing the right things by fighting tough guys,” he said.
“The way I see it is moving forward every guy I should be fighting in the rest of my career should be the toughest guy I’ve ever fought.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Mike Malott. He takes on Neil Magny at UFC 297 on Saturday night.