Jack Shore is probably the most heralded bantamweight outside of the UFC across the U.K. and Ireland.
The unbeaten Welsh fighter boasts an 8-0 record after less than three years as a professional competitor and he’s already booked a date to compete for the Cage Warriors title in September when the promotion touches down in Cardiff.
It was recently announced that Shore signed on the dotted line with Cage Warriors for another five fights spanning the next 18 months. While some of his fans wanted to see him join the UFC ranks already, he is confident he’s made the right decision to stay with a promotion that has proved to be one of the most prolific proving grounds for UFC talent.
“You know how it is on social media, you’ve got the usual crowd talking about, ‘Why didn’t you sign for the UFC’, but I expected that to come when they announced the deal anyway,” Shore told MMA Fighting.
“It’s just one of those things, they offered me a contract that I’m very happy with. I’m still very young and I’m still growing as a fighter, so I was more than happy to commit to another 18 months with Cage Warriors. I think this is the best move for me because it allows me to grow and master my craft.”
Having already benefited from the promotional push of Graham Boylan’s outfit, signing on for an additional term with Cage Warriors was never up for debate.
“Since I had my first professional fight with Cage Warriors two years ago, my profile has gone through the roof because of how actively they promote us on social media and other places. The way I see it, another 18 months of that and I’ll have even more people screaming for me to go to the UFC. That might lead to a better deal or a fast track once they see what I can do in the Octagon. I think the positives far outweigh the negatives when it came to re-signing. I see it as an investment in my future.”
Son of one of the most respected coaches in the U.K. and former competitor, Richard Shore, “Tank” feels as though he’s been groomed for MMA’s spotlight from a young age. With a tussle for the vacant title on the horizon, he underlined why Cage Warriors’ silverware is some of the most sought after in Europe.
“I think Cage Warriors titles legitimize fighters, certainly more than any other titles in Europe do. Of course, you’ll still get people saying, ‘He’s all hype’ or whatever, but I really feel that winning the Cage Warriors bantamweight title cements my place as the best outside of the UFC,” he said.
“They have a proven track record, over 90 fighters have been signed to the UFC after competing on Cage Warriors. Out of those 90 fighters, I’d say 70 or 80 percent were champions, so the title is like a golden ticket. I say that, but I still want to defend that title once I win it. I want everyone to know that I’m the best bantamweight in Europe before I do anything.”
Cage Warriors brought Shore over to their recent event in Belgium to see his next opponent in action — he was set to challenge the winner of the vacant title fight between hometown favorite Brian Bouland and Ilia Topuria. However, Topuria came in too heavy, lost the right to win the title from the contest and submitted Bouland in the first round.
Shore remains unsure about who his next opponent will be, but wasn’t too put out by his trip to Belgium.
“In the end, my Dad and I just laughed about it. Cage Warriors flew me out there, gave me the big promo and the whole nine yards. It was all planned to set up the promotion for the next bantamweight title fight, but it all went t*ts up, I suppose. Ilia Topuria came in overweight, beat Bouland and spoiled the show, I guess. What can you do?”
Topuria has since tried to claim the fight through a back and forth with Shore on Twitter, but the Welsh prospect says he’ll face whoever Cage Warriors put in front of him on the night.
“If he had made weight, I had already signed to fight him. That’s his fault. I can’t do anything about it, I can’t rectify his mistake and to be honest, he’s shot himself in the foot. It’s not like it was slight miss either, it was a piss take, so what can I do? I tried to explain it to him online, but he doesn’t seem to get it.”
Shore is confident that after seeing out his latest Cage Warriors deal, he’ll be ready to make his mark in the Octagon.
“Provided it all goes well and I get the wins that I’m after, I feel like the UFC will come calling after 18 months. I feel ready to go now, but there’s no real rush for someone of my age. If I’m ready now, I can only imagine how I’ll feel in 18 months.”