In a few short weeks, Perth’s own Quillan Salkilld will look to defend his Eternal MMA lightweight championship for the first time, fighting American challenger Brett Pastore, as the pair face off at HBF stadium.
Although boasting just five pro MMA fights, Salkilld (record 4-1) has risen through the ranks of the
Australian circuit efficiently, all four of his victories coming by submission or KO, including his title
winning performance, which he won in 32-seconds.
Story by Joel Rasmussen.
Although it hasn’t changed his approach to training, Salkilld said winning the title has brought legitimacy to his claims of being the best in the country.
“It just puts a stamp on where I’m at in the sport. I’ve always felt like I was the best in the country
and now this is like the official ‘you are the best’,” he tells us. “It does feel good. I can’t quite lie and say it doesn’t feel any different, but I think there’s a different aura around it.”
His quick rising star caught the eye of the UFC, who booked Salkilld in for a fight on the Road to UFC series, a show which showcases rising MMA talent from the Australasian region. After flying over and making weight, Salkilld’s opponent was rematched against another opponent, after a fighter was not medically cleared to compete, leaving Slakilld with no one to compete against.
Although heartbroken, Salkilld said the learning experience the trip gave him has been beneficial: “It was heartbreaking because I was so close to such a big opportunity to go and perform on a stage like that and then for it to get taken away from you, through no fault of my own…
“It was gutwrenching, but either way it was a really good experience to have.”
Salkilld also said the opportunity to fight in front of his hometown crowd again is something he is
happy to do: “I’m just happy that I get to go and perform in front of home again, I love fighting in Perth. Especially having an international opponent, I know the whole crowd is going to be rooting for me and it’s going to be a lot of boos for my opponent which is always cool.”
Salkilld eyes are still set on a chance at the UFC, but is not opposed to work he still has to do on the regional scene before he gets there: “The only thing that’s stopping me is my experience. When I received the news I wasn’t fighting on Road to UFC, that was pretty much the thing that was stopping me from getting another shot…
“It’s hard to match someone 4-1 on the UFC region. All I need is just a few more fights. I reckon three more and I’m right there.”
Alongside Salkilld, fellow Perth champion and training partner Cody Haddon is preparing to unify his Hex bantamweight title against Sean Gauci in late November. The two champions work together to bring the best out of the both of them.
“It’s a tough mat to be on, especially on the sparring days, having Cody… I’ve always believed we would get here, and I believe that we’re going to go way further.”
Eternal MMA 80 is at HBF stadium on Saturday 28 October, some tickets still available here.
Image credit: Eternal MMA