Titan FC 35’s Zane Kamaka “No way in hell [Muhammad’s] going to break me”

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565All welterweight Zane Kamaka wanted was an opportunity and on September 19th he’ll finally get one. The scrappy Hawaiian makes his promotional debut at Titan FC 35 against undefeated prospect Belal Muhammad. The pair represent a class of prospects that Titan FC has been accumulating since president Jeff Aronson took over the promotion in 2013. Kamaka (9-1) has been a fighter all his life growing up in Hawaii and fell into MMA after his dad forced him into kickboxing when he was 16-years old. “I was a hothead kid, pretty much we all were.” Kamaka told MMAOddsBreaker. “My dad tried to get me to play sports, football, baseball, but I just wasn’t feeling it. He signed me up for a kickboxing match, I didn’t train for that match at all but I won. I took some damage, but I loved the competition of it. It really humbled me a lot, I just fell in love with the sport ever since. I’ve been kickboxing until I turned 18 years old and then I transitioned to MMA.” Motivation was never an issue for Kamaka once he started his MMA career. Seeing fellow Hawaiians like B.J. Penn and Kendall Grove have success in the UFC, has only fuelled his ambition for the sport. “They’re still an inspiration for me. Hawaii is a small place and not many people make it in professional sports. I see those guys follow their dreams; it definitely motivated me to work hard. Hopefully one day I can follow in their shoes.” Hardcore MMA fans will remember Kamaka for his short stint on Season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter. Kamaka lost out on his opportunity to make it into the house when he was finished by first round submission against Cameron Diffley in the entry round. While he has no regrets, Kamaka admits it wasn’t the right time in his career to be competing on the show. “Truthfully I just wasn’t ready.” Kamaka explained. “I’m humble enough to admit that. I was 6-0 when I went on the show. That was one of the worst experiences and the best experiences. I thought my kickboxing was enough to get me to the high level and obviously it wasn’t.  It made me realize if I want to be high level fighters I need the ground game.  Ever since that fight I’ve been busting my ass on the ground and it’s come a long way.” Since the show, Kamaka has amassed three straight victories including two first round finishes. His recent hot streak was enough to catch the eye of the Titan Fighting Championships who signed the Hawaiian fighter earlier this year. “My manager Jason House, he’s the man. He called me and said Titan was interested me, sent me the contract and that was that. I just can’t wait to go out there and put on a show. I was just waiting for any opportunity I could get.  Titan was actually the first show to give me the opportunity, I just took it. Titan, thank you guys I won’t forget it .Honestly I don’t feel any pressure at all [with Titan being on UFC Fight Pass] It’s just another fight for me. Of course it’s a big venue, but I just have to go out there and do my own thing.” The 26-year old faces arguably his biggest test to date in undefeated welterweight Muhammed. With an impressive 7-0 record, Muhammed is known for grinding out his opponents where he’s won five of his seven fights by decision. Kamaka believes his aggression will change the course of the fight. “I matchup well,  I’ve watch his fights he’s a slow paced fighter and he likes to take his time.  But I’m going to be bringing pressure and I’m going to force him to fight. He’s a tough guy but I’m no pushover either. So f**k it, lets do it. At this point in my career, guys who are undefeated, guys who have losses, you know everybody’s tough. It’s going to come down to heart and no way in hell he’s going to break me.  I’m just ready for gold; I’ve been waiting for a long time ever since The Ultimate Fighter for an opportunity and I am not going to let this slide.” Ahead of this matchup Kamaka splits time between Hawaii MMA and Gracie Technics BJJ, where he trains with UFC standouts Max Holloway, Yancy Medeiros and Louis Smolka. Training with a team of established UFC veterans has given him the upmost confidence ahead of his Sept 19th showdown with Muhammed. “Honestly I’m going to kill him. I’m a super aggressive fighter; I’ve been fighting since I was a kid. When the fight is on the feet I’m super confident. I know I got power, I think I got a lot of speed too for my weight. He’s definitely going to be diving for my legs, 100%.” With Titan FC having a UFC-out clause in their contracts, Kamaka is aware he could get snagged up by the Las Vegas based promotion should he emerge victorious on Sept 19th. But he’s focused on the task at hand and would rather let his fists do the talking. “I am not trying to put too much pressure on myself. When I was on The Ultimate Fighter I kind of rushed my career. If the UFC wants me, then they’ll grab me.” You can follow Zane on Twitter @ZaneKamakaMMA. You can listen to the full audio interview below on an “Extra” edition of The Parting Shot Podcast  20 seconds in. 

Written by James Lynch

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