Toronto, Ont.’s Tom Theocharis (4-4) returns to the MMA cage on Friday night for the first time since Feb. 2021 when he takes on Jesse Hull (2-1) for the Alaska Combat Entertainment middleweight championship.
For Theocharis, 28, this fight is bigger than winning a championship. This fight is about proving something to himself. Last August, Theocharis suffered a horrible tragedy as his girlfriend passed away unexpectedly, and a win on Friday will prove as much about Theocharis the man as Theocharis the fighter.
“If I didn’t have MMA as an outlet I don’t know where I would be as far as the healing process. I’m very fortunate that I do have MMA to fall back on, to dedicate 24 hours of my life, seven days a week to MMA and getting better. MMA has taught me how to handle adversity and handle these tough situations,” said Theocharis in an interview with MMA Empire.
“There is one route I could’ve gone down and used (her passing) as an excuse to fall off the beaten path and just be a train wreck. But I didn’t use that as an excuse, I used her passing as motivation and I was thinking prior to this fight ‘is this fight for her?’ But no it’s for me. It’s to prove to myself that whatever I put my mind to I can do and I can battle through adversity. It goes to show you the character that I have by winning this fight.”
This matchup with Hull will be Theocharis’ first crack at a professional title.
Although he said he’s not very familiar with Hull, Theocharis said his dedication and time put in training has him prepared for anything.
“Honestly, I don’t know much about him. I think he’s more a jiu-jitsu guy. It looks like he is a powerful dude, but I think some things that I did wrong in the past is I kind of obsessed a bit too much on my opponents leading into the fight and it kind of psyched me out, more so to the point where I’d watch so much footage on them and then I’d get in the cage and my opponents wouldn’t be doing that exact same thing that I thought they’d be doing,” said Theocharis.
“I looked at his record; I’ve known him for quite some time as I have scouted out that Alaska region and I think this is such a great matchup. I’m assuming he’s going to look to take me down just because that’s what everyone does. He seems like he’s a grappler. I train like I’m fighting GSP, I don’t care how good he is or how good he’s not. I trained as hard as I possibly could, as smart as I could and I’m ready for anything.”