When our minds drift back to the sporting history of Australia, there are certainly a few standout points that come to mind. Rugby, the Ashes, and even their occasional World Cup exploits – but thanks to the likes of Tyson Pedro, mixed martial arts is starting to enter that conversation.
The 26-year-old, who was born and raised in Sydney, was quite literally fighting from day one with his jiu-jitsu background dating all the way back to when he was aged four. Since then, Tyson has spent the last two decades honing his craft and in the present day, he sits with a 6-1 professional record and a spot in the rankings of the UFC light heavyweight division.
“I do a lot of random stuff. For example, last night I just went ice skating, because I just always like doing something different. If I see something I’ll go and do it, pretty much like a little kid. If it was the school holidays, I was the one who wanted to go bowling or go and get on the wakeboard.”
That’s quite the achievement in itself, and it becomes all the more impressive once you run down the list of some of his victims. From Paul Craig to Khalil Rountree the guys that Tyson has defeated are no amateurs, and whilst he may have lost his last bout, the youngster has the right frame of mind when it comes to learning from his mistakes.
Pedro has a long future in this game and the man himself realises that, as he sets out to build his brand to the point where MMA in Australia reaches the lofty heights that it has the potential to reach.
“After I had my wins I’d just come home and drink beer with my friends. When I got my first loss, all I wanted to do was train. You just sort of get that new feeling.”
Whilst Robert Whittaker has already got the ball rolling to an extent, his dual allegiance to New Zealand leaves Tyson at the top of the pile when it comes to being the face of an entire nation’s hopes within this sport.
That, in itself, sounds like it’d be a task that brings a great deal of pressure – but that’s not an area Pedro struggles with. In fact, he seems to thrive on it and he’s already starting to show a level of maturity that many of his fellow ‘colleagues’ fail to possess.
“Just even knowing that we have Robert Whittaker as a champion and yet Australia is still not 100% behind MMA, and it’s still a little bit frowned upon. I think it’ll be another five years until it’s at the level it should be. But it’s getting there, and I can’t wait until it explodes.”
Obviously, it’s going to be a long road to the top but Tyson doesn’t care about that, and given the state of the LHW division right now, the brass ring really is there for the taking.
The future is now in the UFC with the likes of Darren Till and Max Holloway continuing their surge to the top, and we can all but assure that Tyson Pedro will be the next name to step up and shock the world.