Mike Mathetha, better known as 'Blood Diamond', is the newest entry into the UFC from New Zealand's City Kickboxing gym. CKB head coach Eugene Bareman recently shared details from Mathetha's struggling years.
According to Bareman, Mathetha used to sleep under the cage of the gym for a year while he was "on the grind." Having witnessed his struggles firsthand, Bareman was overwhelmed when 'Blood Diamond' earned his UFC contract.
Eugene Bareman said in a video posted to Israel Adesanya's YouTube channel:
"No one deserves it more than that man there. Over a hundred fights fought all over the world, one loss. Been through many, many struggles in his life. This is a guy who used to live under the cage. We used to have a cage in our ring. He lived under the cage for a year because on the grind, he was struggling, he was trying to make a living. [I've] personally seen firsthand all the struggles that he has been through. Nothing made me happier than that moment just announcing 'Blood Diamond's entry into the UFC."
Watch Eugene Bareman talk about 'Blood Diamond' in the video below:
'Blood Diamond' hasn't competed in MMA since 2020
Mike Mathetha is scheduled to make his UFC debut against Orion Cosce at UFC 271 in February. He currently holds a 3-0 professional record, which includes one submission, one TKO and one decision victory.
Interestingly, Mathetha's last MMA bout came against Dimps Gilles in February 2020 at Eternal 50 in Auckland.
Diamond, however, has managed to stay active on the regional kickboxing circuit and is unphased by the long hiatus. Mathetha said in an interview with the NZ Herald:
"Look at our team; we are the best in the world. The way I see it is I just have to train hard, listen to my coaches. I'm just going to get in there, work my ass off and work as hard as I can. When I get into that cage, I'm just going to put on the best performance I can. I know I'll be ready. Not having an MMA fight for a while doesn't change a thing. All I can do is do me. For me to get to the UFC, it's me doing what I do best."
We'll find out whether Mathetha is the newest star out of the City Kickboxing gym when he makes his UFC debut next month.