UFC commentator Daniel Cormier got it completely wrong when he accused rising UFC star Jack Della Maddalena of initially turning down a fight with Bassil Hafez. So says Ben Vickers, the head coach of Scrappy MMA, where the Australian spends the bulk of his training time. Vickers recently spoke to Bloody Elbow looking to set the record straight.
The pair fought in July, with Jack Della Maddalena coming out on top in a fiercely battled a split-decision victory. Hafez earned praise for his performance after taking the fight on short notice, giving the UFC prospect a good run for his money by all accounts.
At one point Cormier claimed during the commentary that Jack Della Maddalena was reluctant to accept the fight at first. However, Vickers insists that couldn’t be further from the truth as it’s not in their nature to turn anyone down.
Rising UFC star’s coach: ‘We never turn any fighter down’
“You have to take a lot into consideration for that last fight,” Vickers told Bloody Elbow. “It’s Jack’s performance I’m most proud of if I’m honest, because of what he went through to get there in the first place. Who’s going to do that in Jack’s position? Hottest prospect in the UFC. Everything to lose, nothing to gain.
“S—t circumstances, s—t mental frame, s—t training circumstances, s—t dietary circumstances, s—t living circumstances. It was s—t. But Jack just kept his eyes on the prize because he wants to fight as much as possible. He’ll fight anyone no matter who it is.
“And that’s why it really annoyed me when DC said that Jack had turned down Bassil the week before,” Vickers added. “That is incorrect, it is so factually incorrect, it’s annoying. We never turn any fighter down.
“We’ve made it perfectly clear to the matchmakers. Any name you match us with we will say yes to. So it’s frustrating when people are putting false narratives out there, people that are in positions of trust, saying that we’re scared or something like that.
“It’s a bulls—t narrative. Bassil’s name came up and we said yes. It’s as simple as that.”
Jack Della Maddalena facing Kevin Holland
With the fight now firmly behind him, however, Jack Della Maddalena is ready to move on with his career. The 26-year-old is currently preparing for his 18th professional fight when he hopes to extend his winning streak against fan favorite Kevin Holland at Noche UFC. While some fans believe Holland will be a big test, Vickers doesn’t think he poses much of a threat.
“Holland is a stand-up guy, stand-up fighter,” Vickers explained. “But he’s tailor-made for Jack. You can’t leave your chin up in the air with a guy like Jack. I think he’s there to be hit, personally. We know he’s got a mean D’arce choke so that’s something we’ve got to look out for during the fight.
“Josh [Jack’s brother] has been mimicking Holland during camp. Obviously he’s a bit unorthodox so it’s difficult to replicate exactly what he does but I think he’s done a good job. We’ve prepared for all eventualities. Jack is excited, he can’t wait to get back in the cage. It’s what he loves doing, fighting. Fighting someone like Holland will bring the best out of him.
“We know he’s a name, he’s got a big mouth, he likes to talk a lot. But Jack isn’t fazed by anything. He knows what to expect.”
Noche UFC goes down on Saturday, September 16th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The card is set to be headlined by a women’s flyweight title fight rematch between champion Alexa Grasso and former title holder Valentina Shevchenko. Jack Della Maddalena vs. Kevin Holland is set for the co-main event.
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