Ilkeston MMA star Dean Trueman has claimed the Cage Warriors featherweight title after a third-round victory over Aidan Lee.
Trueman lifted the belt after a hard-fought battle at Cardiff’s Ice Arena in the Cage Warriors’ centenary show.
And having said before the encounter that fighting for such a prestigious title belt was a dream come true, the victorious Trueman was therefore thrilled to have gone on to win it.
He said: “This is the pinnacle of my career and it’s on to bigger and better things for me now. This is the best belt I can win at the moment, the best belt in Europe, but winning it means I can set new milestones.
“It could be UFC or whatever but we’ll go from there and set goals like we did with winning this belt. We’ve achieved that and I’ll either defend it or go into UFC and set bigger goals.”
The fight itself saw Trueman trap his opponent with an omoplata against the cage before dropping a series of punches for a TKO stoppage 3:36 into the third stanza.
And having seen Lee come at him strongly in the first round, Trueman knew it would be a case of biding his time before taking advantage.
He said: “I knew that was what he would do in the first round. He’s got a good back game and sleek submissions but I kept calm, defended like I knew I had to and I saw off his best and I think it demoralised him.”
Three kicks to the body gave Trueman an upper hand in the second round and he felt having that in his locker proved crucial.
He added: “I’ve been working on that body kick and have been landing it a lot in sparring. I could definitely feel it was slowing him down.
“I’ve got a decent rubber guard game, and I felt comfortable I could control his posture and elbow him, and he didn’t really move so I thought I’d go for the omoplata and get top position.
“I could see him squinting when the omoplata was on, I landed some heavy shots and then I don’t think he liked it and the ref stopped it.”
Liverpudlian Paddy Pimlett has been cited as one possible opponent should Trueman opt to defend the belt, with the Ilkestonian adding: “Paddy was featherweight champ for a while before moving up so if he wants to come down and fight for the belt I’ll happily give him a shot at it .
“I like any matchup and when I’m the champ I can’t really turn them down, even if it was in Liverpool and in his own back yard it wouldn’t bother me as I always bring a good crowd.
“Wherever Cage Warriors tell me I’m fighting and defending my belt, that’s where I’ll go.”
Trueman also paid tribute to the support received from his fans and training partners in Cardiff.
He said: “I had great support - about 130 people came down from Ilkeston and I appreciate their support as it’s amazing.
“I’ve got some great training partners - there’s Jimmy Wallhead who I’ve trained with for ages and who really works me hard, my Thai boxing coach Alan Whitton, plus the guys down in London who I train with on several levels and I feel like the way I’m doing things is getting me where I want to be.”