Dana White called Cameron Saaiman ‘the future,’ and he wants to prove it at UFC 282

Dubbed by UFC president Dana White as “the long run” of the game, 21-year-old Cameron Saaiman (6-0-0) is on a mission to show him proper on his debut at UFC 282 in Vegas on Dec. 10.

The South African, a protégé of Dricus “Stillknocks” du Plessis and coach Morné Visser, will combat Steven Koslow (6-0-0) in a bantamweight bout after securing his UFC spot with a Contender Sequence win over Josh Wang-Kim, through KO/TKO at 2:52 of Spherical 3.

This prompted White to say: “Dude you’re spectacular. For 21 years previous, the best way you saved your composure in there … completely knowledgeable man. Your new nickname is ‘The Future’.”

Saaiman was the youngest lively male UFC fighter till then-17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. (now 18) gained a contract a month later. Rosas Jr. may also be making his full UFC debut on Dec. 10, towards Jay Perrin.

The South African informed ESPN: “It is an absolute praise and it is an honour to be known as that by the boss man himself.

“If something, I believe it added a variety of motivation, as a result of since I began as knowledgeable, I turned professional once I was 18 and there was a variety of criticism due to that and I needed to show myself each single time.

“All I will do on Dec. 10 is simply show Boss Dana proper. I will show him proper and I will present folks that I’m certainly the long run.”

Explaining how he fell in love with combined martial arts, the Pretoria-born Saaiman mentioned: “My father truly labored for Carnival Metropolis, which hosted the EFC occasions — the native occasions right here in South Africa.

“He was a undertaking supervisor there and I truly simply occurred to be there with him at his work and that is principally how I fell in love with the game. I watched a couple of fights after which I went to my father and informed him: ‘I wish to do that. That is actually cool.’

“As a 12-year-old child, you may get bored with many sports activities. I did skateboarding for a couple of week and a half earlier than stopping that, so I actually jumped round doing a variety of sports activities, however this one actually caught.”

Being taken underneath Du Plessis’ wing took Saaiman’s love for the game to new heights and the pair will combat collectively at UFC 282 — the primary time South Africa can be represented by multiple fighter at a UFC occasion. Du Plessis can be up towards Darren Until within the middleweight division.

Though they’re shut now, Saaiman revealed that it took time for 28-year-old ‘Stillknocks’ to really grow to be smitten by mentoring him.

Saaiman defined: “I had an important sponsor — This fall Gas was a completely superb sponsor that helped me since I used to be a child, simply serving to with primary tools and stuff like that. I did not come from a really financially robust background, so having a sponsor helped by way of paying for tools and competitors charges. It was an absolute blessing.

“When their enterprise was trying to sponsor an even bigger group, they really gave me a possibility then to shift gyms. As a part of the enterprise deal, they’d sponsor the gymnasium, however Dricus needed to coach me.

“I believe at some levels, particularly firstly, he did not actually wish to do it, nevertheless it was a large asset to the group. We shortly developed a coach-student relationship — after which later [a relationship as] coaching companions and associates.”

For each South African MMA and the UFC bantamweight division alike, the occasion in Vegas may signify a ceremonial passing of the baton.

“It is an absolute honour [to fight with du Plessis]. I believe that is the primary time ever that South Africans usually are not just one man on the primary card, however a group of two going to the UFC to signify not solely South Africa, however Staff CIT. I am very lucky,” Saaiman mentioned.

“We have been having an important 12 months. By way of our group’s momentum, it has been completely superb. I actually am wanting ahead to showcasing our abilities and exhibiting what we have now left. I believe we did that effectively within the Contender Sequence, however I believe we will do it even higher now within the UFC debut.”

With reference to Koslow, a fellow UFC debutant who’s 4 years his senior, Saaiman spoke with respect, however definitely not concern or deference.

“He is a good opponent,” Saaiman mentioned of his opponent, who hails from Jacksonville, Florida.

“Clearly, he has floor sport, however the end result will keep the identical. My hand can be raised come combat evening.”