In just over six weeks, Guam’s Jon Tuck will take the mat again in an effort to continue to rise up the ladder in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Tuck, one of Guam’s professional mixed martial artists, will be taking on European sensation Nick “Sergeant” Hein at UFC Fight Night 87: Overeem vs. Arlovski. The fight will be in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the home of headliner Alistair Overeem, who will face Andrei Arlovski in the heavyweight division.
Tuck is happy with the matchup. He is more prepared for this camp than in any previous camps – he’s been training for a possible shot at an appearance in UFC Fight Night 87: Hunt vs. Mir.
“I was preparing just in case someone pulled out of the Australia card, so I’m way ahead in shape and my weight’s not an issue and I don’t see this camp going anywhere but up,” said Tuck. “I get to enjoy food, eat a lot and I don’t have to cut much weight. It’s going to be great because I’m going into camp in shape.”
Tuck has done his research on his opponent, who will present a different challenge than his previous fight, against Tae Hyun Bang of Korea in UFC Fight Night 66: Edgar vs. Faber in Pasay City, Philippines. In that fight, Tuck faced another well-rounded fighter, but Bang was more inclined to stand and throw strikes, earning many of his wins through knockouts, whereas Hein has only two of his 12 wins stopped early by knockout or technical knockout, according to sherdog.com.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter, more so in judoka. He’s got a black belt in judo,” said Tuck. “I believe he’s a European champion for judo and he’s a blue belt in jiujitsu and he happens to enjoy boxing. He’s got a well-rounded game. He tries to grind it out, or overpower his opponents to get the finish or, if not, then the decision, but he’s mainly a decision fighter.”
Tuck said UFC vice president and matchmaker Joe Silva matched him with Hein for the fight in the Netherlands.
“The guy’s a great fighter, he’s the No. 1 German lightweight from the European region, so it’s a battle of the best,” Tuck said.
Tuck is taking a unique approach toward the fight. He sees the challenge as the best representatives of two different regions taking on each other on a world stage.
“If (the UFC) tries to claim me as the next top lightweight from the Asia/Pacific, I’d be glad to put that to the test against one of European’s top-ranked fighters. Going into this fight is an honor to me,” Tuck said. “To me, it’s similar to the Olympics — I’m from Guam, I represent this region. Not only my island, but everyone else that supports me here.”
While Tuck was on island, he trained alongside two fighters who shined at PXC 52 — Josh Alvarez and Roque Martinez.
Tuck was ringside as Alvarez beat Japan’s Yutaro Muramoto by decision and Martinez knocked out Takaaki Oban in the fight’s main event.
“I did my pre-camp here and I’ve been training a lot with these guys, helping them with what I know and them showing me some things that they know that could be implemented in our games,” Tuck said.
Tuck left Guam to continue his training in California with Nick Curson, founder of Speed of Sport. Curson has trained some top mixed martial arts athletes, such as Fabricio Verdum and Lyoto Machida, according to the Speed of Sport website. Tuck is excited to work with one of the top trainers in the sport.
“I’m going to see what tricks he can add to this bag right here,” he said.