Kickboxer Regis Sugden said he was fighting fit and ready to return to the cage as he prepares for his first fight after a 20-month break.
The 21-year-old Suggy’s Gym fighter, of Newark, has fully recovered from last year’s surgery to re-attach and repair ligaments in his foot.
He will make his return at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on May 12 — the same venue where he made his MMA professional debut on BAMMA 17 in December 2014.
Fighting for the first time in the featherweight division, Sugden will take on Declan Williams, of Rossendale, on the TANKO Events TFC#4 show.
“It has been a long time. It does seems to have dragged. I am someone who tries to fight quite regularly so it has been a difficult time,” Sugden said.
“Obviously the priority has been getting my physio and getting my ankle right.
“I have also worked on my strength. I feel a lot stronger than I was before and some of the areas I need to work on I have worked on.
“There have been a few tough times and moments where I wasn’t sure about my future, but I am grateful to my dad, my brothers and everyone at the gym who has helped me come back.”
“I have been waiting a long time for this."
Former bantamweight fighter Sugden said despite his own personal setback, he had enjoyed seeing brothers Bailey and Chad succeed in the ring.
“In a way it has been good to sit back and watch and enjoy their success. I have also enjoyed doing more coaching.
“However, it has also made me want to get back in there fighting myself.
“I have seen all these shows that I have wanted to compete on and not been able to.
“I have been waiting a long time for this and so have all my fans.
“Now I am ready to go and looking forward to showing everyone it’s been worth the wait.
“Moving up a division, I’ll be even stronger and more dangerous than before — a different weight but as exciting and explosive as ever.”
Sugden’s overall goal is to one day compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“My long-term goal — within next two to three years —is to get into UFC. That is the main goal looking forward, and one day become champion of the world” Sugden said.
“Short-term it is to get my number one in the featherweight division in the UK and get the best fights I can.”
His father and Suggy’s Gym head coach Dean Sugden said: “This will be a big night, not just for Regis but for everyone travelling up to Manchester to support him.
“Tickets are already selling fast, with cageside and VIP places limited, so anyone who wants to come and join us in celebrating his return needs to get in touch as soon as possible.”
Doors at the Victoria Warehouse open at 6pm, with the first fight starting at 6.30pm.
Tickets are available from Suggy’s Gym or via the hotline 07816 840920.