The intrigue to this main event comes not on the surface, but in the roots.
UFC-veteran Terrion Ware (17-9) will look to add another title to his growing collection when he meets Ontario’s Denis Puric (7-5) at Fight Night 11 on Saturday night to determine the new owner of the Fight Night bantamweight championship.
Ware, 33, enters this contest on a five-fight losing streak, albeit against some of the top bantamweights in the world, and said this title is an opportunity to re-establish he’s still someone to be reckoned at the top of the division.
“It would re-affirm, for myself and the people that believe in me, what I’m capable of and that I still have those capabilities,” said Ware in an interview.
“I went up against some of the best guys in the world and fell a little bit short, but I’m still one of those top 50-calibre guys in the world in my weight class. There’s also people out there that have probably written me off, and I want to show them I’m far from done in this sport.”
Although Ware has multiple titles to his name, Puric is looking to add his first MMA title to a collection of kickboxing championships.
Puric, 34, said he’s looking forward to competing in the main event slot for his first title, but in the end it’s just another addition to the trophy case for him.
“It’s just another piece to my collection,” said Puric in an interview.
“It means a lot to have my first title fight and be headlining the show, but when it comes to the hardware, it’s just another piece to the collection.”
Ware Competed With the Best
Although Ware has dropped five straight fights, those losses were at the hands of Cody Stamann, Sean O’Malley, Tom Duquesnoy, and Merab Dvalishvili, a tough draw during his four-fight UFC stint.
Ware said going the distance and competing with those four fighters, and a couple decisions he believed he won, lets him know he and his team were right about his game.
“It just re-affirms what my coaches thought and what I thought that I feel like I’m one of the best in the world,” said Ware.
“If I look at that list of top 50 guys in the world, on my best day, I feel like I can compete with and beat any of those guys. It’s just a matter of putting it together, getting the right balance, and executing when it comes to fight night.”
While Ware has competed with the top bantamweights in the world, this will be Puric’s toughest and most high-profile fight of his career by a large leap.
With that being the case, Ware said he’s expecting Puric to be highly-motivated to put on a show and earn a victory in the biggest fight of his career.
“For him, I know he’s going to be hungry and he’s going to be looking to make a name for himself off of me,” said Ware.
“I’m not taking him lightly whatsoever, but, on paper, my advantage will be that experience factor. But in the fight game, one punch can change all that, so I just need to be on top of my game, respect his game, go in there and execute what I’ve been trained to do.”
Top Notch Striking
Puric boasts an extensive kickboxing background of over 25 fights around the world, in addition to his 13 MMA fights.
And although Ware has proven to be a skilled boxer throughout his career, Puric said he believes his biggest advantage in this fight will come on the feet.
“I just have more tools than him when it comes to striking,” said Puric.
“He’s got the reach on me, but I don’t think he can oppose my speed. I think I’m a bit faster than him, so I’ll be trying to use my angles a lot, cut off his reach, and stay close.”
Puric spent the last three years coaching, fighting and further improving his striking in China, before returning to Canada in May to begin preparations for Saturday night.
He said that three years in China only made him a more dangerous striker and said he believes there’s no one in the bantamweight division who can compete with him in the striking department.
“Nobody can stand with me. In my weight class, in my division, I don’t think there’s a lot of people that can strike with me,” said Puric.
“My only downfall is my ground game, but I’ve been working on that and I feel like it’s improved a lot.”
“I’d like to thank my coaches (Adam Lerner, Chad George, Kenny Johnson), all my training partners at A4 Fitness and Black House MMA, my management team (Iridium Sports Agency), my manager Jason House, my family, my wife, my kids, MMA Empire and all other media that covers the sport.” Follow Ware on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM
“I’d like to thank all my coaches, Kru Alin, all my teammates at House of Champions, all the guys that helped me at Para Bellum MMA (Rory, Lyndon, Josh), and everyone else that helped me prepare for this fight (Tyson, Claude-Patrick).” Follow Puric on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM