Dean Trueman will defend his Cage Warriors World Featherweight title in Denmark next month.
The Ilkeston star secured what was his first world title belt with victory over Aiden Lee in Cardiff in December, capping a fine 2018 which saw him remain unbeaten having also overcome Lewis Monarch and Corrin Eaton earlier in the year.
Now, he will take on Dane Søren Bak on his opponent’s home turf in Copenhagen, with Bak coming down from lightweight and in doing so relinquishing the title in that category which he secured by beating Paddy Pimblett.
And Trueman can’t wait for the chance to defend his title on Saturday, March 9.
He said: “I’ve not been able to have much down time since winning in Cardiff but that’s at least meant I’ll be able to take some momentum into the fight in Copenhagen.
“Winning that belt was the pinnacle of my career and a massive achievement and one that was my target in 2018. It showed the level I’m now at.”
Trueman had hoped that his world title victory would lead to a chance to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) but, as yet, the call hasn’t come.
He said: “For one reason or another that’s not happened but the alternative was for me to defend the belt and just keep on winning - hopefully then the UFC won’t be able to ignore me.
“I had other options on the table but I’m now contracted to defend this belt and that’s what I intend to do.
“Hopefully then I can have a bit of time off with my family as it takes its toll after a while.”
Trueman’s opponent next month is having to drop several pounds in weight in order to compete at featherweight level, something the Ilkestonian doesn’t envy him for.
He said: “He’s used to making 70kg whereas he’ll have to at least come down to 66 and I’m not sure how he’ll manage it given there isn’t all that long to do so.
“He’s a wrestler, a grinder, and his stand up and kickboxing aren’t at my level so I know what I have to do to beat him.”
Trueman says he isn’t fazed by going into the lion’s den that is competing on an opponent’s home territory, given it’s something he’s done before.
He said: “Given that there haven’t really been any opportunities for me to fight locally it’s not unusual for me to be faced with the choruses of boos and so on that you get when you’re up against a local fighter.
“But it doesn’t bother me and it’s actually a bit of a motivator in terms of trying to silence them.”
However, with that in mind, Trueman says another of his dreams is to be able to fight much closer to home - and have the whole of Ilkeston come to watch him.
He said; “I’d love to get a show in Nottingham and I can’t see why Cage Warriors don’t make it happen really given the infrastructure and geography lends itself to being a good place to host.
“The UFC have held shows there and it’s really popular.”
“I had about 125 come and support me in Cardiff and as it stands I’ve got around 40 coming to Denmark, but if it was in Nottingham I’d love to get the whole town behind me.”