On Friday night, British bantamweight #NathanielWood gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he takes on Swiss fighter Marko Kovacevic at #CageWarriors84 for the vacant #CageWarriors bantamweight title.
Wood was one of the 13 fighters who made our hot British prospects list published last month and in just three days, he gets the chance to take a massive step forward in his career at 02 Indigo in London, England.
Speaking to Champions.co earlier today, Wood explained how fight night couldn’t come soon enough.
“I’m so excited—just absolutely buzzing for it,” Wood said. “I feel like this has been a long time coming and I just can’t wait to get in there. I don’t really have any nerves about the fight itself, but I have more nerves with the weight cut. But yeah, I’m really pumped for this and the next couple of days couldn’t come sooner.”
Just eight weeks ago at Cage Warriors 82, Wood defeated fellow British fighter Vaughn Lee via second round TKO. While admitting there were some drawbacks to having such a fast turnaround, Wood said that the good outweighed the bad.
“To start with, I thought maybe I could’ve done with a little more extra time so that I could just have a little bit more of a life after my last fight, but then, to be honest, it figured out to be a blessing in disguise because my weight stayed low and I kept my fitness at a good level,” Wood said. “It wasn’t like I had to pick anything up again you know, it’s just been about maintaining where I was eight weeks ago. I would’ve liked maybe a week or two extra maybe, but anything more than that I might’ve put on weight or seen my fitness taper down. I literally do feel perfect.”
The Londoner has been involved in title fights before, but never for a belt classified as a world championship. Wood explained the significance of the Cage Warriors belt and what it meant to him to take him home on Friday.
“This is the one, this is the most important fight of my life—if I win this, I’m a world champion,” Wood said. “The title fight I had a BAMMA was just for the Lonsdale British title. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great belt to have, but I’d just be an English champion you know. To have the words "world champion" after my name—that’s just a dream come true.”
More than 70 fighters have fought under the Cage Warriors banner and gone on to fight in the UFC. Wood is aware that being a Cage Warriors champion will put his name among some great fighters who have gone on to do big things on the biggest stage.
“Look at the Cage Warriors champions that have been before—McGregor, Hardy, Bisping, Mousasi—I’m going to put my name alongside theirs,” Wood said. “Cage Warriors don’t dish out belts for nothing. I know having a Cage Warriors belt behind my name will open a lot of doors for me. I know in my mind what I want and that’s to become the UFC champion—the best in the world. I’m just taking every step as it comes and my next big step is on Friday. I want to compete at the highest level and I’ve got zero doubts that I can do it.”
Wood vs. Kovacevic goes down on Cage Warriors 84 this Friday and will broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.
Cage Warriors 84 Full Card
Nathaniel Wood vs. Marko Kovacevic – for vacant Cage Warriors bantamweight title
Matt Inman vs. Brad Wheeler -
Norman Paraisy vs. Kenneth Bergh
Tom Green vs. A. Jacobsen
Hakon Foss vs. Craig White
Iuri Bejenari vs. Sam Creasey
James Webb vs. Miro Jurković
Martyn Harris vs. Marcus Paul
Sean Carter vs. Steve O'Keefe
Phill Wells vs. Thomas Robertsen
Lee Chadwick vs. Bola Omoyele
Bryan Creighton vs. Darren O'Gorman