The UFC championship and Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing sports internationally.
That combined with the success of a local fighter ranked number one in the world is helping put Windang on the global map.
But behind every great fighter is a great coach.
In Alex Volkanovski's case that is a very humble man named Joe Lopez who runs two successful businesses including Freestyle Fighting Gym where his prized fighter trains.
To understand their success requires understanding them.
Much has been written about Alex Volkanovski because his success has thrown him into spotlight. But Joe Lopez shies away from the limelight and is reluctant to tell his own story.
However with some persuasion from friend Lube Markovski he did.
"It puts it all in perspective when you are watching a UFC main event with many millions of people watching around the world and they announce Alex Volkanovski from Windang. It sends shivers down my spine", Mr Markovski said
Mr Lopez started life in Port Kembla and later moved to Barrack Heights. He has been involved in Mixed Martial Arts for a very long time. And that journey has led him to train what many regard as one of the great UFC fighters on the planet.
Volkanovski is the number one contender in the world and his next fight could win him the title. But how did it begin and what is the secret to he and his coach's success?
Mr Lopez's said his own interest in martial arts started by him wanting to learn how to defend himself as a teenager. He never knew it would lead him to starting a security business and eventually a gym.
"I started doing the traditional martial arts. I then did a hospitality management course which is what got me into security".
Mr Lopez's first job in hospitality was in his early 20's at the Market Street Bistro. But one night there was a bit of trouble in the front bar when a patron grabbed one of the waitresses and he so was the only one who could subdue him. As a result he was put on the front door from then on and that led to him eventually starting his own security business called Insight Security.
Mr Lopez competed in tournaments and won medals but had just started his business so couldn't give it a red-hot-go. .
"There weren't many kick-boxers around so fights would fall through all the time. So I decided to focus my energy on the security business rather than trying to pursue a career as a fighter".
But when Mr Lopez turned 40 he wanted to do more in the sport and training provided that opportunity. That is when he bought an old church at Windang.
"I wanted to give a little bit back so I started the gym. At that stage the Ultimate Fighting Championship was underground. Unless you were into it not too many people knew about it. But I wanted to get behind UFC. That was my goal".
It soon exploded and everyone wanted to know about UFC.
Since day one of the gym Mr Lopez has had fighters competing and achieving results in boxing, kick boxing or Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Mr Lopez said the association with Alex Volkanovski came about by chance six years ago.
"He came here just to get fit for football in the pre-season," he said.
"We had an open sparring day here and he wanted to spar. He went in against a more experienced guy who I wanted to get my heavyweight to fight. But the other guy's trainer threw Alex straight in and I was trying to get to the cage to stop it. But I couldn't get there quick enough and they had started. I went 'oh no' but the next minute Alex had submitted this guy.
"Alex had only been training for three of four months and this guy had already had five fights and was supposed to be the heavy weight guy around this area.
"After the spar I asked Alex if he was interested in competing and he said "it has always been a goal of mine". I said "leave it with me and we will try and get you a match-up". Within six months Alex had his first fight and the rest is history".
Volkanovski's success came around the same time that MMA really started to grow.
"You had to have a mix of styles to win," Mr Lopez said.
He started Wollongong Wars around the same time to regularly give half a dozen fighters he trained opportunities to compete.
But Mr Lopez has always encouraged people at all levels to come and train at his Windang gym.
He is happy for them to do fitness and conditioning classes alongside elite athletes such as Alex Volkanovksi who continue with their own program.
"We train everybody. One of the biggest kicks I get is training the kids," he said.
"I enjoy watching the kids make progress. I enjoy watching the kids who don't have confidence get confidence. That to me is really important".
But training the number one ranked fighter in the world means Mr Lopez also does a lot of travelling and really enjoys that as well.
"This year I have been to America, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Melbourne, Adelaide and we are about to head off to Canada for the UFC there," he said.
Mr Lopez said while he missed the opportunity to compete at the elite level himself he was really enjoying being involved in Volkanovski's success.
"We spend a lot of time together," he said.
"When we are away on camp we are with each other 24/7".
When they are not in camp they train twice a day seven days a week at Windang.
And while they study the next fighter they are expected to meet and have a game plan for them, they always have to be ready for any fighter.
When the two men head to Alberta, Canada this month Volkanovski will be on reserve in case one of the other fighters can't compete.
So he has to be at his peak and ready to go in case he gets his chance to fight for the title belt earlier than expected on July 28.
"He has to make weight," Mr Lopez said.
"He is there in case somebody gets hurt. He is the replacement if one of the two can't fight. They have been known to pull out at the last minute so he has to be ready for it. We are actually going there to fight".
The two men both have a reputation for not getting nervous before a big fight.
They are big advocates of remaining calm and not letting their adrenalin pump until they are heading to the ring.
"In the change room before a fight we are laughing, making jokes and there is banter going on. People look at us like there is something wrong with us. But it is working," Mr Lopez said.
Asked about Volkanovski's secret to success Mr Lopez said it was a number of things including his commitment and discipline to training.
"Alex loves to train," he said.
"Sometimes I have to pull him back".
But the role of a coach is not only about the training.
Mr Lopez sees said a coach needs to be selfless.
"You really need to be there for them. It is not about you," he said.
"To me this is not a job. I like running a gym and training people because I really enjoy it. I don't have to do it but I like doing it".
Mr Lopez said the support for Alex Volkanovski in the Illawarra was fantastic and these days everyone now seems to know about UFC.
The sport is so big that Alex Volkanovski can be anywhere in the world and he will be recognised in the street.
And the attention he is bringing to Windang is opening doors for other young up-and-coming Illawarra fighters such as Colby Thicknesse.
Wollongong Wars is an event Mr Lopez organises locally on a regular basis to give emerging talent more opportunities to fight competitively.
Asked about the future he said the goal is to win the world title and defend it for as long as Alex Volkanovski wants to keep fighting competitively at the elite level.
His other plans are to find more space for his gym.
"We need a better facility where we can get more people here," Mr Lopez said.
"If we build a good purpose training centre Alex won't have to travel so much to train. More elite athletes will come here to train with him".
Freestyle Fighting Gym already has a world MMA gym ranking of eight.
Mr Lopez said the biggest lesson he wants to teach is that martial arts "is all about respecting people". "You train to fight so you don't have to fight".
Which is why Mr Lopez's first course of action with his security business is to always try and talk people out of any confrontation.