LAS VEGAS – Tai Tuivasa is proud of what Australia is getting done in the combat sports world.
The UFC heavyweight heaped praise over the latest, high-caliber championship performance that brought a title belt back to the “Land Down Under.” Tuivasa (13-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) was very complimentary of now WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight champion George Kambosos, who took the three titles in a big upset win over Teofimo Lopez last month in New York.
“I’ve trained with George back home in Australia. We trained at A+ Performance; it’s a strength and conditioning place.” Tuivasa said at UFC 269 media day on Wednesday. “Man, he was the underdog. I think all us Aussies are usually the underdogs, and to come and do what he did and take back home what he’s worked so hard for his whole life, hat’s off to George.
“Shout out to George. Good work, brother. We did it. Australia, we’re coming back. We just need to fix up our COVID rules and then we’ll be back.”
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Tuivasa returns to the cage Saturday on the preliminary card of UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena. He looks to extend his winning streak to four by taking on Brazil’s Augusto Sakai.
The 28-year-old Tuivasa has been training in the United Arab Emirates, as opposed to Australia. Tuivasa said the strict COVID-19 restrictions from his country have made it hard to continue his professional MMA career.
“Australia has been going through some tough times, and I could see what was happening in my last fights. For Greg Hardy, I trained in the car parking and just sh*t like that, you know what I mean. I just knew. Then I went to the UAE from here, and I had a few other issues with the visa and stuff like that, but I was planning to come to America and plan to train with DC (Daniel Cormier) and the boys, but the government had other plans. But we’re here now.”