With a victory over Tom Aspinall already on his resume, heavyweight titan, Stuart Austin, is ready to cement his legacy by winning the Oktagon MMA title. But before he gets his shot at the belt, he’ll have to overcome Adam Pałasz on January 27.
With the fight of a lifetime against Germany’s Hatef Moeil, hanging in the balance, ‘The He-Man’ will look to set the Utilita Arena in Newcastle alight with a performance that leaves the promoters no choice but to offer him a shot at the strap. And with his former foe having conquered the world of the UFC, Austin is chomping at the bit to lift his own championship above his head.
Stuart Austin defeated Tom Aspinall at BAMMA 21
In a remarkable career, ‘The He-Man’ has solidified his place as a pioneer of British MMA, wowing crowds across the globe with his sublime grappling skills and unrelenting will to win. But back in 2015, on the back of a two-fight losing streak, Austin nearly said goodbye to the sport until a victory over Aspinall reminded him that he possessed the talent to go all the way.
In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he reminisced: “It’s definitely stood the test of time. It was a long time ago, I took my first loss in Bellator, I was 8-1 and they cut me. Your first loss is a pretty hard one. I got an opportunity to fight on BAMMA, and I swear blind I got done by the judges; I fought like an idiot, but I still got done.”
Stuart Austin overcame adversity with incredible Tom Aspinall victory
He continued: “So, I was on a two-fight losing streak, and there’s this young, big, strong up-and-coming kid who nobody wanted to fight. I was told that a lot of people turned him down, and in my head at the time, I was just like, if I lose three in a row, if I can’t beat some up-and-coming kid, then he’s the guy, and I’m not. So, I went into it a bit gung-ho. It was do or die.
“If you watch the fight, it’s interesting; you can see his striking is better than mine; he was aggressive. But I was able to out-wrestle him and win the grappling exchanges. A lot of people have seen the finish but not the actual fight. What you don’t see is that I’ve been ground and pounded and ended up standing up over him, I try to do a Superman punch through his guard from standing to ground, and halfway through, he goes to up-kick me, and I panic and go, ‘Oh f**k’.
“We end up in the weirdest scramble I’ve ever been in. I had this giant gorilla on top of me, clubbing me in the side of the head. I pulled guard, which is a big ‘no, no’ — it’s such a bad idea. But I managed to get the leg lock. It was a huge win, and he’s springboarded from there. He’s looking amazing right now; even Jon Jones doesn’t want to fight him.”
Stuart Austin would love to follow his German roots and clash with Hatef Moeil in Stuttgart
Coming from a German family, Austin would revel in the opportunity to fight Moeil in the country he holds so close to his heart. In his younger years, he spent endless hours learning the language, but can he still speak it today?
He laughed: “Barely. When I was younger, I used to speak a little bit because my grandad was German, and he came over 80 years ago. So, Germany suits me. I know they have a show in Stuttgart in March. I’d love to fight Moeil for the belt there because that’s where my mum’s family are from. He’s not a natural-born German, and, I’ve got that that blood in my veins. So that would be quite fun to do. It’d be quite a good one, and I have good memories of Germany. I have fought there before, and it went well. That said, I’ve heard Oktagon is doing some pretty cool venues in the UK later this year, which I definitely want to be involved in, so we’ll see.”
But before the judo star gets his shot at glory, he’ll have to beat Palasz — one of Poland’s toughest heavyweights. But with a partisan crowd cheering him on in Newcastle, Austin is expecting to put on one of the best showings of his career. And British fans can watch all the action unfold, live on DAZN or attend the show in person. You can buy tickets here.
Featured Image Credit: Oktagon MMA / Getty