EXCLUSIVE: The UFC’s biggest drinker and self-described ‘world’s toughest eshay’ Tai Tuivasa hates being alcohol-free in his Dubai training camp – and will take out his anger on Ciryl Gane in the biggest fight of his career
- Tai Tuivasa prepares to take on Ciryl Gane in the biggest fight of his career
- Aussie slugger hasn’t touched any alcohol for a month before showdown
- Tuivasa says he is going to shock the world when he beats Gane
Western Sydney heavyweight Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa is readying himself for a showdown with Ciryl Gane in the biggest fight of his career on September 3 – and in bad news for the French UFC star, he hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol as he prepares.
The big-drinking KO king who is riding a five-fight win streak says he doesn’t touch the hard stuff at all while he is training, but can’t wait to crack a few beers once the fight is over.
‘I’m a man of extremes,’ laughs the 28-year-old who is known for doing shoeys in the Octagon.
‘I can’t have one or two [drinks] or something small. It’s not in me. I go cold turkey during camp and then make up for it in the first three days after the fight.’
Tai Tuivasa celebrates victory in the Octagon with a shoey after knocking out Derrick Lewis at UFC 271
Tai Tuivasa exchanges punches before knocking out Augusto Sakai at UFC 269 in 2021
The proud western Sydney local, who now owns a brewery in Penrith, is quickly becoming one of the most popular fighters on the planet – with well-known MMA pundit Chael Sonnen recently dubbing him ‘the biggest star at heavyweight’.
Tuivasa accepts Sonnen’s statement as a point of fact.
‘Well, he wouldn’t be wrong – but it’s a pretty cool shout out all the same,’ he said.
Tuivasa – who told Daily Mail Australia he didn’t mind being called the world’s toughest eshay ‘because it’s true’ – is on a winning streak that has seen him KO Stefan Struve, Harry Hunsucker, Greg Hardy, Augusto Sakai and Derrick Lewis – solidifying his status as one of the best heavyweights on the planet.
Tai Tuivasa and fellow UFC fighter Tyson Pedro have launched their own beer, Drink West
He attributes much of this change in form to moving his training camps to Dubai and having a more professional approach to his career.
‘My attitude has changed. My work ethic has changed. And I’ve got a really good group of people around me. We’ve all got the same goal in mind. I’m finding my feet and I’m just getting better and better at this sport,’ Tuivasa said.
‘The more comfortable I get at this sport, the more dramas people are going to have when they go against me.’
The No.3-ranked heavyweight’s next opponent in Paris – Ciryl Gane – is a former UFC champion and easily the best opponent Tuivasa has ever stood across from in the Octagon. As such, the Aussie is a big betting underdog.
‘I’m OK with being an underdog. I was born an underdog in Western Sydney – the home of underdogs,’ Tuivasa laughed.
‘I’m going to go out there and do what I do – which is knock c****s out. I’m going to take his head off. I’m sure he’s going to try and do the same – and that’s what excites me about this sport. I’m going to shock the world.’
Tai Tuivasa competing against Rashad Coulter in Sydney in 2017. He’s happy that he’s the underdog against Gane, who’s the best opponent he’s ever faced
‘If I dink ’em, I sink ’em, it doesn’t matter who it is. A lot of people still doubt me, so I’ve got to shut them up.’
If Tuivasa beats Gane in Paris there’s every chance the UFC could bring a promotion back down under – meaning Tuivasa would be fighting for the championship belt on home soil.
‘We need some entertainment, let’s bring it back to Australia. Even if it’s not for my fight, we’ve got Alex Volkanovski and he’s one of the best to ever do it, so we’ve got some big names and i’m sure Australia would love the UFC back home,’ Tuivasa said.
Tai Tuivasa walking with a case of Drink West – his very own beer label which is now the official beer of the UFC in Australia
Tuivasa can assure fans that win or lose, he will be on the booze afterwards.
‘This camp has been a long one so I’m excited to get any kind of grog in me – I don’t care if it’s wine, beer or anything. I’ve also never been to Paris before, so I’m excited to get out there and get amongst it.’