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Battles, Babies & Beer: Tyson Pedro’s Three Year Journey Back To The UFC Octagon

Jayden Collins

| Last updated 

Battles, Babies & Beer: Tyson Pedro’s Three Year Journey Back To The UFC Octagon

It’s been more than three years since Australian mixed martial artist Tyson Pedro graced the UFC Octagon.

In that time, he had three separate knee surgeries, a series of mental rollercoasters, personal milestones, and physical setbacks. But never any doubts. 

His three-year journey has now come to another important milestone. The 30-year-old is preparing for his return to the UFC light heavyweight division when he faces Ike Villanueva on April 24. 

Speaking to SPORTbible Australia, Pedro explained the uncertainty and tribulations that came with spending more than three years on the sidelines.


He said: “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, mentally and physically.

“When I had the first injury and surgery, I was keen to get back in and ready to keep going but then the second one happened, and the motivation started going, and by the time the third one happened, I was like f**k this. 

“It definitely took its toll, not only on me but my family as well, on my relationships.”


Pedro was last inside the Octagon in December 2018 when he suffered a knee injury in a loss to Mauricio Rua. 

When asked whether he ever doubted his return to the Octagon, he replied: “No, I don’t think I did. I knew I was always going to be in there.”

However, when his return was announced for April 24, the Australian knew he would have to put in the extra steps to ensure he was in fighting shape. 

He explained: “This camp has been f**king hard, we’ve put in some hard work.


“I have been at full physical exhaustion, so the body is still getting there but after four years off I’ve got to come back and show something, so I’ve got to make sure everything is done right.

“Usually, I’ll do a six to eight-week camp but this one has been about 14 weeks.”

A lot has changed in the UFC since Tyson last fought. Australian MMA fighters have really come to the forefront of the scene, with the likes of Robert Whittaker, Alexander Volkanovski, and Tyson’s own brother-in-law Tai Tuivasa paving the way to putting the Aussies on the map. 


Pedro said: “When Tai and I first started emerging on the scene, we were like a bit of a breakthrough at the time, early on for Australiasia, and to now see that we’re just stacked with New Zealanders and Australians, it’s so cool.

“It just shows that we’re doing something right down here, we just had a foot in before and now we’ve sort of taken over.”

Australia’s meteoric rise in the MMA isn’t the only significant change to happen to the UFC since Pedro last competed. 

Back in 2018 the light heavyweight division was being dominated by the likes of Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.


Fast forward to 2022 and Cormier is now a commentator for the UFC, while rumours of Jones’ return to the Octagon continue to swirl after a two-year absence. 

Pedro sees it as a positive for the division.

He said: “It’s so crazy how much the light heavyweight division has changed. I think I only recognise three or four names in the whole division.

“It’s a good thing because that just means the division is open for the taking.”

Pedro will come up against ‘Hurricane Ike’ on April 24, who has a record of 18-13-0. But to Pedro, it doesn’t matter who he’s squaring up against for his return fight. 

The UFC fighter said: “I wouldn’t give a s**t who it was, to be honest. They could put me against anyone, I was just ready to get back in there.”

However, he sent out a warning to Villanueva, saying: “I hope you’ve trained because I’ve been busting my ass, so I hope he knows I’m coming in to f*****g fight.”

While any fighter would be itching to get back into the Octagon, Pedro admitted that a lot of positives came from the time off.

He said: “I had a baby during that time, I opened a few businesses, it allowed me to do a lot of psychology and learn a lot about fighting.”

When touching on how being a father changed his personal and professional life, Pedro was refreshingly honest. 

He said: “At first I was scared as s**t. For the first couple of months, I was still training, and I was getting 1-2 hours of sleep and still having to do a 5 am session.”

He joked: “I just remember looking at my wife and going ‘I can’t do this, what’s the return policy?’”

In addition to all that, Pedro teamed up with step-brother Tai to start Drink West, a brewery and beer based out of Sydney’s west. 

On starting the business, Pedro said: “At first, we made too much beer because we didn’t know what we were doing.

“We didn’t know how to sell it so we opened up a wings restaurant so we could sell the beer.”

Since then, the beer has gone strength to strength. They recently went public, which allows investors to become a stakeholder in the company.

They also recently teamed up with Penrith Panthers star Nathan Cleary, and Australian music legend Shannon Noll for a hilarious ad - which took more than a few goes to get through, noticeably because of Cleary’s lack of musical talent. 

Pedro said: “Man it was rough, but it was one of the funniest experiences and an all-around good day. 

“The energy and the vibe encapsulated what Drink West is and that was what was so exciting.

“But, Nathan Clearly just sucked.”

Despite being a bonafide UFC star, the ad may just be his biggest achievement yet - well according to his mum that is.

Pedro said: “My mum is a big fan of Shannon Noll and she never mentions how proud she is of me with my fighting, she hates that I fight, but once I was in the video with Shannon Noll, proudest mum ever. 

“So at least I did that for her.”

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@tyson_pedro. Zuma Press, Inc. / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, UFC, MMA, Robert Whittaker

Jayden Collins
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