On the verge of the biggest fight of his career, Eric Kelly is man with perspective. Once without even a proper place to sleep or money to buy a meal, Kelly now stands just one victory away from becoming the first One FC featherweight champion.

“The Natural” will lock horns with Honorio Banario Saturday in the main event of One FC 7, which streams live on pay-per-view following a preliminary card stream on Sherdog.com. The event takes place at Putra Indoor Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Born in Baguio City, Philippines, Kelly traveled to Manila years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a professional fighter.

“Before, it was really, really hard. I had no money, but I tried to find a way. Then I got injured, and I went home,” Kelly recently told Sherdog.com of his first trip to his country’s capital. “I wanted to be a wushu fighter so bad, but they just threw me away. They didn’t help me to heal my injury, and they totally cut off my allowance. I had a kid, and I was very sad at that time. I went home, and I couldn’t train anymore, but I always knew that when my injuries healed that I would go back to Manila.”

Kelly indeed returned to the capital but not to his first love of wushu. Poor and trying to make ends meet, he took several jobs before finding a position as a bodyguard for Pablo Glean, security aide to the mayor of Makati City. Two attempts on Glean’s life were made in 2006 while Kelly was in his employ. Kelly was present for the first, unsuccessful hit. During the second attempt -- which resulted in Glean’s death -- Kelly was off duty, spending time with his family for his son’s birthday.

Kelly quit the bodyguarding business and turned his full attention to mixed martial arts, making his pro debut in 2009 and winning the Universal Reality Combat Championship featherweight title in just his fifth bout. His performances in the Philippines-based organization caught the eye of One Fighting Championship brass, who signed the fighter in 2011.

Three straight wins would follow for Kelly in the One FC cage, as he topped Mitch Chilson, Bae Young Kwon and former UFC lightweight king Jens Pulver before returning to the URCC this past December to submit Brad Terry with an eleventh-hour armbar on Dec. 1.

With nine victories under his belt, Kelly, who now lives and trains in Malaysia, will next fight to become One FC champion. Despite the inherent pressure of such a situation, Kelly says the large stage has only served to focus him further.

“I feel a little bit nervous, because I’m afraid to lose. That’s why I’m doing my best to train hard for this fight now. I’m going in to show myself that I can fight, and I will do my best to try to get that belt,” said Kelly. “I just try to do my thing and try to defeat my opponent [inside the distance]. I’m not worried. I just want to prove myself.”

Though Kelly has dedicated himself to the task at hand, he is also open about his hopes of one day fighting the best featherweights in the sport.

“I think that [UFC champion] Jose Aldo is very skillful. That’s my dream opponent that I want to fight. I like watching his fights, and I want to test my skills against him and see what would happen.”

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Narantungalag Jadambaa to Face Eric Kelly at ONE: ‘Dynasty of Champions’ in Hefei

  • 11 days ago
  • 17 views

Asia’s biggest MMA promotion returns to China at the start of next month with former featherweight champion Narantungalag Jadambaa set to face off with Eric Kelly. read news >>

UFC 199: The Definitive Timeline of the Dominick Cruz-Urijah Faber Beef

  • 29 days ago
  • 23 views

"Check the record, bud." With this titanic and oft-played verbal blast, the hype surrounding Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz III was reignited and running. Not that the machine has a ton of heavy lift read news >>

UFC 199 Results: Brian Ortega Remains Unbeaten, TKOs Clay Guida

  • 26 days ago
  • 17 views

Brian Ortega kept his undefeated record intact on Saturday when he faced former Strikeforce lightweight champion and UFC veteran Clay Guida at UFC 199 in Los Angeles. read news >>

Kimbo Slice was MMA's supernova (Yahoo Sports)

  • 24 days ago
  • 7 views

From Yahoo Sports: Kimbo Slice became one of mixed martial arts biggest stars despite possessing only mediocre talent. read news >>

Kimbo Slice was MMA's supernova (Yahoo Sports)

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

From Yahoo Sports: Kimbo Slice became one of mixed martial arts biggest stars despite possessing only mediocre talent. read news >>

MacDonald fight can take 'Wonderboy' from good to great

  • 14 days ago
  • 2 views

Stephen Thompson has the biggest fight of his life on Saturday against Rory MacDonald. With a potential welterweight title shot on the line, Fight Night Ottawa is a can't-miss event. read news >>

Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez Focused on Bellator Dynamite 2 Kickboxing, Then MMA Debut

  • 10 days ago
  • 7 views

Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez is focused on her kickboxing bout at Friday's Bellator Dynamite 2, but then she hopes to move on to her MMA debut. read news >>

Rampage Jackson vs. Satoshi Ishii Results: Winner and Reaction from Bellator 157

  • 6 days ago
  • 163 views

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson improved his Bellator record to 4-0 with a split-decision win over Satoshi Ishii in the main event at Bellator 157 on Friday. MMAjunkie.com tweeted out the scorecards from t read news >>

Lewis not concerned with ranks, just wants to provide for family

  • 7 days ago
  • 3 views

Derrick Lewis has the biggest fight of his career upcoming against Roy Nelson at Fight Night Las Vegas on July 7. But Lewis isn't concerned about the divisions or rankings, he just wants to provide f read news >>

Like Brock Lesnar, The Rock Once Considered a UFC Career

  • 5 days ago
  • 38 views

What if Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, one of the biggest stars in WWE history, had made the move to the UFC? read news >>