In My Own Words: There’s No Pubs Or Clubs Here On Fight Island, But It’s Still Pretty Cool
By Tai Tuivasa
It's all just so, so weird.
A kid from western Sydney being here on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, who would have thought?
I'm loving it though. This place is beautiful. From the hotels and hospitality to the country and people, it's all a brand-new experience for someone like me.
And while we're still technically in a 'bubble', the UFC has shut the whole island off just for the fighters, coaches and staff.
There's certainly no pubs, clubs or shops open which I was pretty spewing about. But that aside it's pretty damn cool.
I can train in my own room with my teammates, eat when I want to eat and even take a dip in the fancy hotel pool. What's there to complain about?
All credit to Dana White and the UFC for pulling it off. To be able to let us work, earn money and do what we love in these strange times is something to be proud of. I can't thank them enough.
But all that aside, I've come to Abu Dhabi for a fight. I know that. My opponent knows that. It's going to be good fun - I can't wait.
Stefan Struve is big in every sense of the word. The bloke is almost six-foot-10-inches tall.
But most importantly he's experienced. He's been around for a long time and he's certainly fought some of the best mixed martial artists on the planet.
I've been known to take fights against big-name opponents and he's certainly one of them.
For me, though, I always picture my boy Mark Hunt taking on Struve back in 2013 - that walk-off knockout was iconic. I hope to do something similar once those cage doors slam shut this weekend. But to be fair to Mark, I don't know if anyone will ever be able to replicate what he did.
The one thing I've learned coming off the back of these three defeats is to never rush your s***. Take your time and things will fall into place. That's the mindset I've adopted.
I'm ready for this fight. My training camp has been great - both here in Abu Dhabi and back home in Sydney. And life has been treating me well in general.
My friend Tyson Pedro and I have launched our own beer company. It's called Drink West. It's the best f****** beer around in all honesty.
It was great to just come up with the idea after a training session one day and see it grow into what it is today. We had a good old crack and it seems to have paid off.
It's got some serious heat at the moment and rightly so - people love it.
Funnily enough, the idea had nothing to do with the fact that I've become known among UFC fans for doing shoeys during events.
The supporters over in America and other parts of the world absolutely love it, but this is just normal for us Aussies. I'm not putting on an act or anything, we just love working hard and getting p*****. Us Australians are the best drinkers, especially when it comes to shoeys.
Luckily I've got my own beer to do it with too. How good.
Fighting and getting p****** aside, if you're not watching the UFC this weekend (which you really should be) make sure you tune into the NRL Grand Final between Penrith and Melbourne.
Everyone is getting sick and tired of the Storm winning all the Premierships so this year is our year - the year of the Panther.
I don't care by how much, even if it's by a single point, we're getting our hand raised.
The same can be said for my UFC fight too.
Western Sydney hands will be getting raised this weekend, no doubt about it.
Featured Image Credit: PA, Instagram
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