This Sunday, Sunderland’s own Rise and Conquer returns for the first time in TWO whole years, with their biggest event to date, filled with some of the UK’s hottest prospects.
McEwan vs. Westwood
McEwan claimed he’s feeling “incredible” ahead of the fourth fight of his professional career. He’s desperate to get going and get his second win of the year.
Both fighters have had long and successful amateur careers, and McEwan’s upcoming opponent Westwood has only had two professional fights but has come victorious in both.
Westwood hasn’t been in the cage since his win at Bellator Newcastle in February 2019, but McEwan knows how tough he will be.
“Luke Westwood is a great opponent, he is very good everywhere, and I’m excited to fight him. I see this fight as being fight of the night,” McEwan told OvertimeHeroicsMMA.
All three of McEwan’s professional wins have been in his home country for Evolution of Combat. Now, he takes on the task of competing on his opponent’s home turf.
The rising Scot is as game as they come, and he sits at the point in his career where he takes anyone who wants to face him.
“Dean (McEwan’s coach) comes to me and tells me when I’m fighting, who I’m fighting, and we start to prepare for the fight. As easy as that.”
The Journey to Today
As an amateur, McEwan took himself over to New Mexico and trained with JacksonWinkMMA to better his skills and train with some of the best athletes in the sport.
“It was a real joy to experience another gym, takes you out of your comfort zone, and you’re able to learn different perspectives and train with different styles. Meeting and training with people like Brandon Gibson is an amazing privilege. Training there was a massive factor in quitting my job to train full time as I got to feel how passionate I was to only train.”
I went to New York a few years later to train on the back of the positive experience. I’m open to any training holiday, it’s a very accessible sport where you can get up and go and train with the best people around the world and visit a new country.”
McEwan had multiple pullouts ahead of his bout at Evolution of Combat 8, where he was scheduled to face Kurban Khizriev for the bantamweight belt. Jordan Wheater stepped in on 24 hours’ notice, and McEwan was more than ready for any challenge coming his way.
“I told Dean 4 weeks before the fight, after the first pull out, get me anyone I don’t care who it is I’ll be there to fight. I was gutted. I got stripped of the title fight, but it was just a brief moment of being gutted. After that, the focus turned to what I could control, and that was performing.
I’m confident in my ability, I respect everyone’s skill set, but with 24 hours to go, I believe I’ll beat anyone. Every fight is its own test. You’ve got to respect your opponent, experience the pressure and deal with it appropriately.”
Being the favourite isn’t always easy, but McEwan took it in his stride and strolled to a first-round victory over Wheater to stay undefeated.
“It was a great performance. Having the pressure of being the favourite and everyone thinking you’re going to win is a kind of pressure you need to experience. I felt in control of the moment and performed well.”
Three months McEwan has had to prepare for this one and he described the recent training camp as “unbelievable”, with his skills more polished than ever before.
“This fight was confirmed the night of my last fight, so I took a few days off to recover after the fight, then went into visualising and preparing for this contest. Skill-wise I’ve upped the gears a lot. The last two fights have been restricted due to Covid, but now the gyms have been fully open, I’ve had the benefit of more training partners and able to bounce off the gym’s positive environment. The preparations over the years are paying dividends now. I’m smarter and better than ever.”
The Scottish fans are one of the best around, and for McEwan, his following is next to none. His fans will follow him up and down Scotland. Now, they’re ready to follow and support him over in England.
“It’s massive. I’ve got a busload coming down and people staying over the weekend. I am seriously motivated by how many people want me to do well. The messages, tickets, businesses that support and sponsor me, I think about it every day, honestly. My job is to put on a show for everyone that’s coming to watch.”
This Sunday, the event will be live-streamed via Rise and Conquer’s Facebook on a PPV link. Take McEwan’s advice that this will be “fight of the night” and a must-watch for UK MMA fans.
Featured image credits to Laura Jenney Photography