Just before Alex Volkanovski steps into the Octagon in Las Vegas for the biggest fight of his life he will take off the crucifix from around his neck and hand it to trainer Joe Lopez.
He does it before every fight.
The cross was a gift for his 18th birthday form high school sweetheart and now wife Emma. She has her own ritual - sparkly, white fingernails are a must.
Alex will also be sporting a fresh hair cut.
He hits the barber during every "fight week", but he won't necessarily admit the fresh chop gives him an edge.
"Alex won't admit that it helps him win," Emma jokes, "But we definitely have our rituals".
Emma spoke to the Mercury before boarding a flight to Las Vegas to witness her husband challenge Max Holloway for the featherweight belt at UFC 245 on Sunday (Australian time).
The Shellharbour former footy player boasts a UFC career record of 7-0 and a victory against the legend fighter will catapult him "into a new stratosphere", commentators say.
The 31-year-old has left nothing to chance.
He was kind, funny, thoughtful, stuck up for others in need, did not accept any form of bullying, did what he wanted, not what everyone else was doing.
He's been splitting his time between Freestyle Fighting Gym in Windang, Tiger Muay Thai, Thailand and most recently at City Kickboxing Auckland, New Zealand.
"The girls and I spent two weeks in New Zealand with him at the end of November as he couldn't bear to be away from them for too long, he is such a dedicated husband and father," Emma said.
"And being away for so long at a time doesn't sit well with him.
"At the moment I'm feeling excited and nervous as usual, while Alex is just being Alex.
Read more: Home where the heart is for Alex Volkanovski
"He just focuses on what's in front of him at that very moment, whether it be food, sleep, training ... he is very good at just living in the moment."
Emma said the fight was the biggest of his career, "but so is each and every fight that is put in front of him".
"He will always prepare 110 per cent for all of his bouts."
Emma has been there every step of Alex's climb up the ladder to the top of the martial arts world.
Today "The Great" the's just a shadow of the brutish front rower who took the paddock for the Warilla Gorillas.
When Emma first met "The Great", the name now synonymous with the ripped, lean fighter, he was just a boy.
"We met on MSN messenger back in 2004, shared a first kiss at Shelly's under 18s disco," she said.
"Then I moved schools and just so happened to be Lake Illawarra High, the same school he attended, although he was in the year above me.
"We started dating on the 13th March 2005 and have been together ever since.
"I thought he was a good looking, confident guy from afar, but once I got to know him I realised he had the whole package.
"He was kind, funny, thoughtful, stuck up for others in need, did not accept any form of bullying, did what he wanted, not what everyone else was doing, had good values and morals.
I remember when we would walk down to Blockbuster and rent the UFC DVD's to watch, before he ever even stepped foot in the gym.
"I didn't think too much of it when he began training in his off season of footy, but once he turned professional and quit football, he was like 'I want to do this for a living, I'm going to make it, and go all the way to the top'.
"Seeing that look In his eyes, the determination in his voice I had no doubt that he would. And here we are seven years later."
Alex has the Illawarra and the entire nation behind him. His humble, honest approach to the sport in a world of egotistical athletes makes his small frame stand out.
"He comes from a family of four kids, of which he is the youngest," Emma said.
"As a kid he used to love chocolate so much and ate so much that after watching the movie The Witches, his mum, as a joke, told him he would turn into a mouse if he ate too much chocolate.
"Poor Alex took this literally and wouldn't touch chocolate for ages."
As a kid it was soccer that kept him busy, then wrestling at the PCYC.
He became a national champion.
"Then from his early teens until early 20's it was rugby league with the Warilla Gorillas."
Today Alexander is a man on a mission who wants to live up to his name - the Greatest.
He's left no stone unturned in his preparation and according to his team, his prep has gone to plan.
For his his wife and the mother of his two young girls, his chosen profession is not one that doesn't keep her on the edge of her seat and fill her with fear.
"I actually worry more about him getting injured during training camp than I do during the fight," Emma said.
"The type of things he puts his body through day in day out is insane."
Emma flew out Wednesday night with Joe's wife Kellie and Alex's striking coach Brad Riddell's partner from New Zealand.
"We plan on enjoying ourselves before the big night, doing some shopping of course," she said.
"I will see Alex here and there during the week, and for a team dinner after the weigh ins, but I normally don't try and bother him too much.
"If he makes plans then cool but I'll generally leave him be, he's also got quite the media schedule while he's there, plus he needs to train, rest and cut weight.
"I don't know exact numbers, but I do know he's right where he needs to be at this point.
"This camp he's been working with the fight dietician, he's been fueling his body with the right amounts of proteins, carbs and fats at the right times and the weight has been coming down nicely."
There's no denying Alex's strength for his 66.5kg fight frame - and he believes Holloway has a whole lot to fear.
"I'm obviously very strong for my size. I used to be 97 kilograms and I banged that weight down to the featherweight division," Alex recently told the Mercury.
"Once these featherweights have me grab hold of them, they think 'wow, what is this guy made of?'.
"You can only think what Max is going to feel once I grab hold of him, especially now that I'm more stronger than ever," he said.
"I'm ready to show the world that I'm the best featherweight in the world."
Training buddy soaks up the Greatness
Twenty-year-old Colby Thicknesse knows first hand the hard work Alexander Volkanovski puts in when the cameras aren't on him and the crowds have all died.
He trains with the UFC fighter every single morning in the modest fight gym at Windang.
No one else around, just trainer Joe Lopez and the two men sweating it out.
Colby, who recently won the WKBF amateur title, has just arrived in Las Vegas to support his training buddie in the fight of his life.
"Me ans Alex followed the same training schedule, twice a day Monday to Saturday and every moring it's just me, him and Jo," Colby said form Sydney Airport before boarding his first ever international flight.
"We do a mixture of everything. Sometime more MMA specific, sometimes grappling, wrestling," he said.
"To be there alongside him is so awesome. I wanna follow in his footsteps, learn everything I can from him.
"He's unreal, he's so humble, so knowledgeable. I've said a few times, I'm like a sponge, I try to soak up as much as I can form him."
Colby has watched all of Alex's fight but hasn't been to "any big UFC fights live".
"I'll be back stage with everyone, I'm part of his team," he said.
"I can't wait. It's so exciting, and my first trip overseas."
.Australia may have its second ever UFC champion in the space of two years if Volkanovski can force an upset at UFC 245 in Las Vegas on Saturday night (Sunday afternoon Australian time).
The Shellharbour fighter has gone into his last few fights as an underdog, and will do so again when he takes on the formidable featherweight champion, Max Holloway.
"He can do it, and I'll be there to see it," Colby said.