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Josh Shockley on UFC 174, Bellator and Affliction Wearers

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Josh Shockley at Bellator 60

Photo Credit: Sherdog.com

by Matt Lo Cascio

It’s every fighter’s dream. Out of nowhere you get the call. The voice on the other end says, “Kid, pack your bags. You’ve made it to the big show.” It’s like a scene from a movie, probably one with Kevin Costner. Right?

“I was working in my yard and got a text from my manager asking if my passport was good. A few hours later I was signed.”

There was nothing Hollywood about it, but that’s how Josh Shockley found out he was in the UFC, signed to a four-fight deal. And he didn’t care how he got the news. “It’s something I’ve been working at since I was a fifteen-year-old kid and to have all the hard work finally pay off was awesome,” Shockley said.

The Duneland Vale Tudo fighter will make his UFC debut against Jason Saggo at UFC 174 at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Saturday. Shockley (11-2) is more than happy to be fighting for the UFC, but admits he was surprised to get the call.

“I’m still not sure what really got me in. I have a couple of solid wins on my record and that certainly has something to do with it.”

Saggo is also making his UFC debut, but he’ll get to do it in front of a supportive crowd. Saggo is from Ontario, and while that’s not exactly a stone’s throw from Vancouver, nationalism will be in effect and it will be a pro-Saggo crowd. Shockley vs. Saggo will be the first bout of the night, so maybe it won’t be all that noticeable. None of that bothers Shockley.

“It doesn’t matter to me. His fans can’t fight for him and it only comes down to him and me. I would fight him in an alley as long as it were under the UFC banner.”

Shockley has already scored a win in Canada, picking one up in short order at Bellator 57, submitting Eric Moon in just 35 seconds. He had some success in Bellator, but it just didn’t work out. It doesn’t sound like he was fond of fighting for the promotion.

“I’m over it and don’t even want to put any effort into talking about Bellator. It was a learning experience and I’ll simply chalk it up to that,” Shockley said.

Shockley has plenty of people to lean on at Duneland Vale Tudo, an experienced and accomplished fight team that somehow flies under the radar.

“We do fly under the radar but that’s the way we like it. I believe we have the best team in the Midwest but unfortunately have the fewest amount of Affliction wearers, so we don’t get too much attention. Training at Duneland is always very hard and we have some very gifted fighters currently working their way up. In the next year or two we should be putting a couple of more guys into the big show.”

Duneland Vale Tudo has produced UFC fighters like Darren Elkins, Eddie Wineland and Keith Wisniewski. They are a small camp that caters only to fighters. They don’t even have a website. “I don’t really plan on getting an official team webpage anytime soon,” Wisniewski told me in a previous interview.

Shockley says that he has talked with those guys about what to expect for his UFC debut.

“Keith and I have talked much about the big show but we don’t have to. We have a special relationship and I can catch exactly what he is thinking without him having to say anything. Keith has retired from fighting and has taken on more of a coaching role at the gym and it’s really helping everyone improve.

“Darren Elkins and I talk a lot about the mental side of the game and he’s been like a big brother throughout my career and been a huge part in helping me get ready for this fight. I have cornered both guys multiples times in their UFC fights and that alone has really helped me have an idea of what to expect.”

Unfortunately the Josh Shockley UFC 174 fight will only be available on UFC Fight Pass, but they do offer trial memberships.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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