To all the Capetonians out there (born and bred or adopted) the idea of upping and leaving Llandudno beach, the view from the Chapman’s Peak Drive and my family behind, would be a tough decision to make.
I’d do whatever it takes to reach my goals and dreams right here where my heart is content. And touch people’s lives globally from there.
For some, packing their bags to reach their goals elsewhere is the only choice, even if they feel exactly as I do about “Kaapstad” as Youngsta would lyricise for you in a one-two beat.
So you’ll understand how special a moment it is for Luke Michael to come “home” and fight in front of his home fans at Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) 68 tonight when he takes on fellow lightweight Francois Cundari in the Grand Arena.
“Man, I love Cape Town, hey. It was a big sacrifice moving to Johannesburg,” says Michael who decided to pack his gym bag and gloves to join world-renowned fighting gym, Fight Fit Militia (FFM) in Sunninghill.
“The hardest part was adapting to the lifestyle. Joburg is quicker, bigger and faster and that is where my life during training camp is. But Cape Town is more beautiful, and leaving my parents, my brother, aunts and uncles behind man, I miss them so much.”
Michael, the 23-year-old kid from Goodwood, returns to fight in Cape Town for the first time since his loss to Kaleka Kabanda at EFC45 in November, 2015.
“After that fight I knew I needed a change, I wasn’t getting what I needed from my former teammates and coaches, I don’t hold anything against those guys, they were there for me when I needed them, but at the end of the day, you need to take that step.
“I chose FFM for the high level of coaching they offer, I’ve trained at Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico the best MMA camp in the world, and I truly believe Richie’s (Quan) system is as good, if not better.
“The sequences we do in overall MMA game is amazing and way he managed to improve my skillset and style, I really appreciate it my creativity, my strength everything has evolved due to Richie and the coaches at FFM.
“My sparring partners are amazing, one of the main reasons I left Cape Town, I was the only professional fighter there. Richie has produced a lot of champs before and I will be one in the future too,” Michael added.
Sportsmen and women are mostly highly driven people and sometimes their passion can shine through their words, sometimes even to the point of exaggeration. But, for those who don’t know, FFM’s club list speaks for itself, with no hype or exaggeration needed.
Demarte Pena, Norman Wessels, Don Madge and Martin van Staden are huge names in the EFC and MMA world.
It makes perfect sense why the former Goodwood fighter took the brave step of chasing a beautiful dream.
“It’s simple, I want to be the best in South Africa and then the world, I am young and I truly believe I have a good skillset for my age, I just need to keep working hard doing my one percent every day. I will climb the ranks, I have no doubt in my mind,” says the shy warrior, who still supports the Stormers despite now spending a lot of his time in a city that is currently home to the best rugby team in South Africa.
Cundari, too, is no slouch when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, performing one of the quickest submission wins ever witnessed in the EFC organisaiton.
The Silverback MMA athlete will have no issues with research on Michael as some of his fellow teammates, Regis Muyambo being one, have stepped into the Hexagon with their FFM rival before.
Michael though says he is not too concerned about what Cundari brings to the cage tonight.
“No hard feelings toward the guy, he is a good competitor. Most of his fights he finished early, but they were against inexperienced guys.
“I am not impressed by his BJJ. He is one of those lanky guys with a good guard so I will prepare for that type of fight. I am definitely way more superior to him on the mat and he will feel me on the ground. He said he will submit me in the first round that was quite a bold statement to make, let’s see if he can back it up.
(To be livestreamed on EFC Facebook page from 5.30pm)
Ambamba vs Smith (welterweight)
Ridley vs Kayambala (featherweigth)
Bezuidenhout vs Djikasa (heavyweight)
Kerspuy vs Kamish (flyweight)
Micheal vs Cundari (lightweight)
Biko vs Richards (featherweight)
Mukulu vs Madsen (middleweight)
(To be viewed live on SABC 3 from 9.30pm)
De Beer vs Joshua (flyweight)
Jacobs vs Ellenor (bantamweight)
Muyambo vs Roets (lightweight)
Mazany vs Bright (lightweight)
Van Staden vs Hughes (lightweight championship)