James McSweeney is best known to North American audiences for his appearances on The Ultimate Fighter: The Heavyweights series, where the Englishman advanced to the tournament semifinals before losing to eventual winner Roy Nelson.
But McSweeney, who left the UFC in 2010, has continued to ply his trade all around the world, including five MMA wins in Australia.
This Saturday, the heavyweight road warrior will journey to his next stop: Pasay City (Metro Manila), Philippines, for ONE FC: Warrior’s Way.
He will face the most decorated jiu-jitsu artist in MMA, Roger Gracie. But as usual, the man they call “The Sledgehammer” doesn’t sound too worried.
In an interview with MMA Weekly, the Londoner described how his form has improved drastically in recent years, and how that stint on TUF was something he never planned.
“I got a UFC contract when my MMA career had only just started really,” McSweeney explains, who was working as a Thai boxing instructor at Greg Jackson’s MMA when the UFC called. “So I was trying to learn the game as I went and I just wasn’t ready at that time. Now it’s different because I’ve been in MMA for seven years now working hard on all aspects. I’m now a complete fighter.”
McSweeney, who is now based out of Phuket Top Team in Thailand, has won ten of his last thirteen bouts. He expects more of the same against Gracie, but he knows it will be a challenge.
“Roger Gracie is a great athlete and his jiu-jitsu is of the highest level,” McSweeney admits. “He’s growing and learning. He’s fought on the highest level. So he’s a veteran as I am, but I am going to knock him out. I don’t believe anyone can beat me right now… I do believe when I beat Roger my next fight will be for the ONE FC light heavyweight world title, and I will win that belt no matter who I fight.”
ONE FC: The Warrior’s Way will be available by webcast internationally. See the ONE FC site for more details.
Photo Credit: Lee Whitehead, MMA Weekly