Tafa Just Wants To Represent His People

UFC News

Although dropping his debut stung, literally and figuratively, the promotional newcomer has been able to find a bit of levity in the situation, thanks to some wise words from a long-time mentor.

“After the loss, Mark Hunt contacted me and said, ‘Well at least you’ve dealt with the hardest thing first,’” said Tafa, who accompanied the iconic knockout artist to the UFC cage in the past and was one of several next generation talents from the region to train alongside the famed knockout artist over the last several years. “It can’t get any worse; that’s exactly what Mark told me.

“He said, ‘You’ve just got to get back on that horse and run it back.’ There are a lot of people rooting for me and it’s still a proud achievement — making the UFC to begin with — and it’s time to get back on that horse and run it back.”

As he readies to make his second trip to the Octagon as part of this weekend’s pay-per-view main card in Houston, it’s that strong, supportive community standing in his corner that propels Tafa back into the cage.

“It means everything to me,” he said of walking to the cage with the Samoan flag draped over his shoulders and carrying on his family’s fighting tradition in the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. “Having the responsibility and privilege to take that flag to the world stage is what I fight for. Samoans are really proud people and there are only like 160,000 of us, but we’re well represented around the world.

When you’re young, that’s all you want to do is represent your family and your country and I love it,” continued Tafa, whose grandfather was a national boxing champion while his younger brother, Junior, is a standout kickboxer with Glory. “I love being about to walk around and there are Islanders around that want to take photos and stuff. It just makes me think, ‘I need to represent these people on the world stage the best I can.’”

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