When Jack Della Maddalena lost his first two professional fights, he and his coach set an ambitious goal – the pair were aiming for 10 straight wins.
Days away from the biggest fight of his life, the Aussie is almost there, rising to 9-2 and winning the Eternal MMA welterweight belt before an appearance in Dana White’s Contender series.
Della Maddalena, 25, will face Switzerland’s Ange Loosa on Wednesday with the carrot of a UFC contract suspended in front of the winner.
On the verge of achieving the goal he set for himself more than five years ago, Della Maddalena spoke with Sports news from Las Vegas.
“It was a deal we made to get 10 wins and here we are, close to scoring a goal. It’s exciting to see the goal come true,” said Della Maddalena.
“It was not an easy goal, it was a pretty ambitious goal but we put it there, we believed in it, we manifested it, brought it to light.
“One fight at a time and here we are now, knocking on the door of our first goal.”
Now in its fifth season, the Contender series encourages thrilling fights, with fighters eager to put on a show in front of the big cheese.
Bantamweight star Sean O’Malley made his UFC debut on the series, as did Australian light heavyweight contender Jimmy Crute.
All action fights suit Della Maddalena down to the ground – the Perth product has never made a decision in his 12 pro fights and only went further than the second round once.
“It’s business as usual, I’m lucky my style – I’m trying to get finishes,” he said of his approach to fighting.
“To be honest a decision win wouldn’t excite me that much, I want to finish.
“To me it’s like a mark on fighting, you’ve basically proven yourself to be better and there are no questions asked.
“In that regard, I’m obviously lucky because that’s the subject of the Contender series, it’s about some exciting fights, so I think it works well.”
Della Maddalena is also confident her 27-year-old opponent’s style will lend itself to an exciting affair.
“He’s a pretty aggressive fighter, he’s going to come forward, he’s an explosive, well-qualified fighter with some power behind him,” he said.
“It’s exciting for me, someone who’s going to come and try to do what I’m going to try to do to them.
“I try to get my opponent to bite on stuff and try to get them to get aggressive and then I try to get the counter shot from there.
“I try to put enough pressure on them that they feel they have to put the pressure back on me, that’s when I try to get the opportunity to hit and get the shots right.”
Confident he got the job done, Della Maddalena says he and head coach Ben Vickers have yet to decide on their next goal, but he expects to shoot high again.
“We don’t know what it is yet. I guess Tuesday night in Vegas we’ll set the next goal. I think that goal will be that gold belt,” he said.
“I’m just super confident that I can string the wins together and devastate the standings. I worked hard, took a long time so I have no reason not to believe in my skills.
“We set our first goal pretty high, so I think the next one will be too, we don’t want to cut ourselves short.”
Dana White’s Contender Series will begin at 10 a.m. AEST / 8 a.m. AWST on Wednesday, September 15, with Della Maddalena-Loosa the second of five fights on the card.