Last time Teddy Ash was in the cage, he left as the Unified MMA light heavyweight champion. But that wasn’t enough.
Ash (11-3) will look to become a two-weight champion for Unified MMA when he takes on ex-UFC fighter Seth Baczynski (21-9) for the middleweight title at Unified MMA 34 on Friday night in Enoch, Alta.
Although Baczynski represents one of his toughest tests to date, Ash, 28, said he believes his game has reached another level and he can’t see a scenario that would result in a loss.
“I’m very confident in my training camp, my skills, my conditioning, and where my focus is at,” said Ash in an interview.
“I’ve come a long way already and I’m still getting better each and every day. I’m 100 per cent confident in my coaching and I honestly believe I’m going to win.”
A victory over Baczynski would mark Ash’s sixth-straight win, and third-straight title win after securing the Unified MMA light heavyweight title in May and the Prestige FC light heavyweight title in in March.
With a win, Ash said there are many possibilities of where or when he would be competing next, but as long as he’s fighting the best possible competition, he’s keeping an open mind.
“My competition’s rising. I’ve been fighting better guys now and I’m starting to prove I’m fighting the highest calibre guys in the world, and doing so again Friday night,” said Ash.
“Whether it be UFC, Bellator, PFL, ACB, M1, or defending one of my Unified MMA titles, I’m just going to take the best opportunity that arises.”
With Baczynski being a former UFC fighter and coming from a tough gym, Ash, fighting out of Edmonton, Alta., said he’s not expecting to find any holes in his game.
And although Ash praises Baczynski for being a tough, well-rounded opponent, he said he believes his full-time training for all aspects of MMA will prove to be superior.
“I train everything, everyday. I do striking, jiu-jitsu and wrestling every single day, and I’m getting better everywhere,” said Ash.
“I’m a young guy and I’m on the rise, so I’m going to be fighting guys coming from different backgrounds, and I want to be ready for absolutely anyone.”
Baczynski Expecting Tough Test
Historically, both Ash and Baczynski, 36, have shown the ability to finish a fight early or through a dominant decision.
But Baczynski said, based on both of their skill sets and high fighter IQ, he doesn’t envision this one making it 25 minutes.
“If you look at my record, 19 of my wins are finishes, and Teddy doesn’t look like he goes in there trying coast out a victory either,” said Baczynski in an interview.
“I’m expecting this to be a really exciting fight for the fans. I’m expecting both of us to go out there and put it on the line, and someone’s going to get finished.”
Baczynski, fighting out of Chandler, AZ, said his preparation for this fight has been more focused and dialled in than past training camps, with many of his training partners at Power MMA also having upcoming fights.
He said it’s nice to have all the guys with the same goal in mind as him, rather than only having guys come in to help him out.
“For the entire camp, everyone was all getting ready, and all hands were on deck,” said Baczynski.
“I feel like I’ve put myself in a good position to go perform well on Friday.”
With the fight taking place in Ash’s hometown, Baczynski said he’s fully expecting a highly pro-Ash crowd, but said from past experiences in Canada, he knows the fans will still be respectful.
He said he’s expecting a “hyped” crowd, full of energy, and would love nothing more than to go in there and put on a show.
“I’m excited. I hope that crowd’s pumped, and they should be pumped for him, and they should support him,” said Baczynski.
“I would love nothing more than to leave everyone in that crowd speechless, and the only people jumping up and down are in my corner.”
“I’d like to thank a few of my sponsors: Paul Peddle Services, BBN Consulting Inc., Birch Mountain Enterprises Ltd., Fort McMurray Roofing, PK’s Corner, and Death Defied Clothing.”
“I’d like to thank Cream of the Crop, Apeman Strong Apparel and all my training partners, family and friends for their support.”