Tai Tuivasa was not in the best mood after UFC Adelaide. An understandable state of emotion following his first career loss, against former champion Junior dos Santos, via TKO in the second round. The stoppage put a sudden halt to his seemingly meteoric rise through the heavyweight division, turning a 3-0 start to his UFC career to 3-1.
Tuivasa spoke to the assembled media after the fight, and addressed what went wrong — or at the very least, failed to go right.
“Just bummed, man,” Tuivasa responded when asked about the fight. “F-ck, just bummed, you know? I had my opportunity to put a legend away. And personally, I think I was doing alright. I stuck to the gameplan, I kept the pressure, I was on the front foot. I hit him with a couple good shots. But man, this is the heavyweight division, one punch can change this whole thing. I was happy I didn’t go out; I didn’t get f-cking slept. But, all I could remember, I was on my back going ‘Ahhhhh!’ trying to, like, you know… but this is the fight game. I stuck to the gameplan, I was doing everything I could, but I just got caught. What can I say? “
“F-cking sh-t day for the boys, eh?” He continued, speaking of the losses for other hometown fighters on the card. “Sh-t day for the boys. Of course, I was the last fight and I was watching the boys. But, that didn’t turn me away from what I was going to do. Win or lose, I go out there. Like I said, I was all in. I was all in before the fight, I’m all in after the fight. I’m going to go forward and put an entertaining… that’s what I’m here to do, I’m here to fight.
“I ain’t got no f-cking belts. Like I said, I’m a street fighter. I just try to have a good fight, and I did alright, you know? I’m 25-years-old, I’m one of the youngest in the division. And to get the respect from a legend like that after the fight. And he acknowledged… I’m just bummed, I’m really bummed. Like, ‘F-ck, I was meant to win. I should have won.’ If anything it could be a massive learning curve for me. I’m going to come back bigger and better. Hopefully not ‘bigger.’”
But, while the disappointing result in front of hometown fans clearly got to the young Aussie, that wasn’t the only thing dampening his spirits. One of the fighters to end up on the wrong side of the scorecards that night was friend, mentor, and training partner Mark Hunt. The kickboxing and MMA legend took a decision loss to Justin Willis, this coming after Hunt and Willis had gotten into an argument back stage. For Tuivasa, it seems he’s taking Willis’ win over Hunt very personally.
“Justin Willis is a bitch,” Tuivasa said, flatly when asked about Willis’ win.
“That’s disrespectful, I hate disrespectful c-nts,” he continued, speaking about Willis’ confrontation with Hunt pre-fight. “Man, I know you’re going to fight him. The cage doors are going to close. You’re gonna throw hands. You don’t need to go and try and intimidate someone who’s been around… Anyway man, that’s my horse. That’s my f-ckin’ boy. One in, all in. That’s simple. And if he wants to fight me like he fought tonight, anyway he’s going to have f-cking something else coming for him, I tell you. And I ain’t no walk-off. I’ll f-cking punch his teeth in.
“Big Pretty!? You’re f-cking ugly. shut up. I’ll smash his neck. Seriously, who is he? I’ve seen him do pads, he looks like a little pretty bitch.”
As for why he lost and what he’ll be doing to fix it? Some problems are easier assessed than solved.
“Well f-ck, if I could see every punch it’d be f-cking very handy, wouldn’t it? But I don’t, I can’t see everything.”