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After making waves in his first two fights in the hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter 29, Salvadoran-Filipino Ricky Turcios is just one win away from securing a UFC contract.
Turcios, whose mother hails from the Philippines, is set to take on Brady Hiestand in the show’s bantamweight finale, which will take place at UFC Vegas 35 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, August 28 (Sunday, August 29, Manila time).
With a highly coveted UFC contract on the line, Turcios, who is undefeated in The Ultimate Fighter with a 2-0 record, expects an all-out war against the younger Hiestand, who also has an unblemished 2-0 record in the 29th season of the show.
“Me and Brady both had epic battles. If the cards play out right, we may be in store for another one,” Turcios told Rappler in an interview facilitated by UFC Asia.
“I’m prepared to go all three rounds and a bloody war if it must come to that. But I’m also prepared as well that [if] my opponent makes any mistake, whether it’s in the grappling or in the jiu-jitsu, I will be ready to capitalize on that,” added Turcios, who won both of his fights by unanimous decision.
Interestingly, even though Turcios was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the freestyle fighter always carries the flag of the Philippines and El Salvador before and after stepping into the Octagon.
Turcios acknowledged the support of the Filipinos, especially his young Filipino fans on Instagram, saying it gives him extra motivation and pride heading into the biggest fight of his career this weekend.
“Every time I step into the Octagon, I always carry the flag high with pride,” said Turcios.
“It brings me great joy and with great pride to represent my people and my family. It gives me strength within, it’s an incredible thing.”
“Those little small interactions that I have on Instagram, [when] a young boy hits me up from the Philippines, saying ‘way to represent the flag and hold it down for our people’ – it definitely brings me great pride,” he added.
In the end, once Turcios finally secures that desired UFC contract, he said his long-awaited trip to the Philippines is already planned out.
“After these fights, I am planning to go visit the Philippines for sure. Go to the beach and just enjoy my time out there.”
“We already planned it and everything so I’ll be out there on the islands very soon.” – Rappler.com