5 Things You Need To Know About Tai Tuivasa

Published 07/10/2021, 6:54 AM EDT


UFC heavyweight fighter Tai Tuivasa is heading for a showdown against Greg Hardy at UFC 264. They feature in the main card of the event which is headlined by Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier trilogy.

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‘Bam Bam’ is currently riding a two-match win streak and his last victory came against Harry Hunsucker at UFC on ESPN 21. He will aim to continue his winning momentum against Hardy.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 20: Tai Tuivasa of Australia reacts after his victory over Harry Hunsucker in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Before he makes his presence in front of the live crowd in the T. Mobile arena, let’s look at some facts about him that need a bit of attention.

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Tai Tuivasa was a professional rugby player.

Prior to pursuing MMA as a career, ‘Bam Bam’ played rugby on a professional level and represented Sydney Roosters. He used to spend a lot of time away from home. This kind of bothered him in the long run.

Despite being pretty good at it, Tuivasa later realized that rugby was quite opposite of his personality. The rugby league is quite popular in Australia and gets a fair bit of media attention there. Slowly, his mind changed about pursuing his career in rugby.

Takes pride in representing his heritage

Tuivasa’s father belongs to Samoan heritage and his mother belongs to Koori culture. Being a man of two different cultures exposed ‘Bam Bam’ to understand the world accordingly.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 20: Tai Tuivasa of Australia reacts after his victory over Harry Hunsucker in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

His father’s village is known for fighting. He always walks out with a sense of pride every time he walks out to the octagon as he carries his father’s heritage. The Samoan culture is generally considered strong and alive. He credits his recent success in the octagon to the heritage he carries.

Tuivasa has a special place for the elder citizens.

‘Bam Bam’ supports the Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation, which is a nonprofitable organization that provides care for the elderly and disabled people of Western Sydney.

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According to him, there is always something to learn from them. He wishes to make those people watch his and his brother-in-law, Tyson Pedro’s fight in UFC one day.

He has inked his tattoo in a traditional way

‘Bam Bam’ carries a traditional Samoan tattoo known as the Pe’a, which is done under an extremely painful and old-fashioned way of tapping. There is just no other alternative for him and every other Samoan to do it as it would be disrespectful, according to him.

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His tattoo took whole 3 months to finish because of his overseas fighting commitments. ‘Bam Bam’ doesn’t consider it just like any other tattoo. According to him, there is a lot of tradition behind it.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 20: (R-L) Tai Tuivasa of Australia punches Harry Hunsucker in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

There is a story behind it too. In his younger days, Tuivasa saw his uncle sporting the Pe’a, and curiously he asked his mother about it. She replied: “Only real men get those, son.” To which, ‘Bam Bam’ claimed, “One day, I will get that for you, mom.”

First Indigenous Australian to win a UFC fight

The UFC announced in 2016 that Tuivasa has signed a 4 fight contract but he had to sit for a long time because of injury and subsequent surgery.

Tuivasa made his UFC debut against Rashad Coulter on 19 November 2017 at UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura. He won the fight via knockout via a flying knee in round 1 and thus became the first indigenous Australian to win a UFC fight. This victory also earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.

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Tuivasa would look to capture his third straight win at UFC 264 and continue to march his way towards a possible title fight opportunity in near future.

 

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

431 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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