Coach Eugene Bareman talks what pushed Kai Kara-France to pursue MMA in a world where "sports are dominated by giants"

Kai Kara-France (centre), Eugene Bareman (far right) [Image courtesy of]
Kai Kara-France (centre), Eugene Bareman (far right) [Image courtesy of]

City Kickboxing founder and head coach Eugene Bareman has revealed what motivated Kai Kara-France to transition into the world of MMA.

Bareman, who coaches UFC athletes such as Kara-France and Israel Adesanya, spoke to Combat TV ahead of his standout flyweight fighter's interim title fight at UFC 277 this weekend.

'Don't Blink' will face Brandon Moreno in a rematch of their 2019 bout, which saw the Mexican win via unanimous decision. Both men took home an extra $50k after being awarded the Fight of the Night honor.

When asked about Kai Kara-France, the award-winning coach said:

"I think Kai's always been a super-talented athlete. I think you get super athletes like him at that weight class. Where does a young, athletic, super-talented boy go when we are in a world where sports are predominantly dominated by giants? ... What do you do if you're a 50/60kg super athlete? ... You gravitate to a sport governed by weight divisions."

Kai Kara-France made his UFC debut in 2019 and enjoyed a fruitful start to his octagon career, winning three bouts in a row. Moreno became the first fighter to defeat the New Zealander before 'Don't Blink' suffered another loss a year later.

Kara-France appears to have found his footing again. He'll head into his rematch with Moreno on another fine three-fight winning run, which includes finishes against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrant and Rogério Bontorin.

Catch Eugene Bareman's full interview here:


Kai Kara-France admits bout with Brandon Moreno will be a "dog fight"

At UFC 277, two of the 125lb division's most elite fighters will come face-to-face again. Initially, Kara-France looked destined for a shot at the title, but an injury to champ Deiveson Figueiredo means he must face Brandon Moreno for the interim belt.

Speaking at a UFC press conference last month, the 29-year-old gave his breakdown of what will no doubt mark the biggest fight of his UFC career so far. When asked about those who continue to underestimate him, 'Don't Blink' said:

“Man, it’s kinda triggering. It brings me back to when I was in high school, getting bullied for my height. I guess getting overlooked, underestimated. But man, this kid has a lot of fight in him. And that’s what Moreno will be seeing. It’s a dog fight and I’m gonna just make it that… I don’t care. If you doubt me, it fuels me. It fuels me even more.”
4 more weeks til we bring another belt back to New Zealand! 👑🇳🇿 #ufc277

The fight will be the fourth time 'The Assassin Baby' will feature in a UFC title bout. The 28-year-old has previously faced 'Deus Da Guerra' on three separate occasions, notching a win, a loss and a draw across the series.

Should Moreno defeat Kara-France for a second time, it will set up a fourth fight with the Brazilian.

Catch the full UFC press conference here:


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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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