HE’S made a rapid climb up the Australian amateur bantamweight ranks, but rising Illawarra MMA star Adam Bailey is setting a higher bar for himself after claiming his first national title.
Bailey claimed the Urban Fight Night (amateur) bantamweight title with a third-round TKO victory over tough Sydney-based Filipino James Hannaford earlier this month.
It was performance that earned him fight of the night honours and a maiden Aussie title little more than a year after taking up the sport as part of coach Russell Thompson’s Full Circle MMA stable.
“It’s a dream come true really,” Bailey said.
“Ever since my first fight I’ve wanted to win a title. I just kept training and training, we’ve got a great team here and Russell just kept pushing us to where we needed to go.
“I didn’t know and jiu jitsu or wrestling but he just took me to a whole new level.
“The title opportunity came up, the game plan worked, everything came together and we got the win. I can’t get enough of it now.
“I’m excited to see what comes next. I’ll hopefully make my pro debut soon and see where I can take it from there.”
The win sees him sitting at No. 1 Australian amateur bantamweight rankings, a meteoric rise that’s even amazed coach Thompson.
“Adam’s only been training for abut 15 months,” Thompson said.
“He’d never done [mixed] martial arts before and he trained with us for three months and he just excelled that quickly it was ridiculous.
“He was training with a bunch of guys who were preparing to fight and he was really putting it on them in sparring.
“I just asked if he was interested in having a fight and he said ‘yes, if you think I’m ready’. We basically gave him a crash course in wrestling and jiu jitsu because he’s just a natural striker.
“He had three months training before his first fight and finished it in under a minute.”
Three more impressive wins followed ahead of his Australian title bout, with Thompson confident his charge has higher honours ahead of him.
“He’s just a naturally poised guy, nothing fazes him,” Thompson said.
“For this last fight he had to go through a seven-kilo weight cut, he hurt his knee in training and strained his medial ligament. He could’ve pulled out but he was adamant he wanted to fight.
“He’s very intelligent, you show him once and he just does it. It's a real thinking man’s game mixed martial arts, there’s a lot of things to put together, but he picked up quick.
“He’s been in camp the whole time so he hasn’t had a break in 15 months, but he just laps it all up.”