Kiwi UFC star Kai Kara-France will step into the octagon with one clear goal this weekend.
“I plan on being the third world title holder at City Kickboxing,” he told reporters.
The storied Auckland training gym that has also helped develop middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is one of the finest UFC production lines in the world.
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Kara-France is hoping to be the next man from there to lift the gold when he fights Brandon Moreno for the interim flyweight title this weekend, and says he’s learned a lot from those other belt winners.
“I’ve seen them do fight week and defend their belts many times before, so I knew what was to come; more media obligations, more attention, more people wanting you – so I expected it. It’s nothing overwhelming for me,” he said.
“One thing I’ve taken away from Izzy and Alex is that they never count themselves out. They never doubt themselves, and they’ve always got this self-belief, and that’s why they’ve been defending their belts for a very long time.”
Moreno is coming off an incredible trilogy of title fights against current champion Deivison Figueroa, the first of which was a draw, the second won by the Mexican, and the third seeing the Brazilian win the title back.
Figueiredo is still recovering from a finger injury, hence the interim title fight status this weekend.
“I saw Figgy [champ Deivison Figueiredo] saying this is a cardboard belt, a plastic belt – but it’s still a world title,” he told reporters.
“This is everything I worked towards, he’s not here – I’m here, and I’m squaring off against Brandon – we get to run it back.”
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Kara-France said he always wanted to get a re-match against Moreno, who beat him 2019 – and this time, there’s gold on the line.
“It’s all about timing. The Kai that fought Brandon back in 2019 isn’t the same Kai that’s fighting him this Saturday,” he said.
“[I’m in] a completely different headspace – just being a father now, being a husband, going through more experiences and just levelling up everywhere.
“I feel like the self-belief is the difference now. Before I didn’t really believe it, now I truly believe I’m going to be a world champion.”
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