Jack Della Maddalena couldn’t imagine a better way to earn a UFC contract than by impressing the company brass with a stellar performance on The Contender Series.
That said, the Australian welterweight has witnessed the gift and the curse that the show has provided for many of the fighters who gained entry into the UFC after Dana White deemed them worthy of a multi-fight deal with the promotion.
While The Contender Series is certainly a high-profile way to get the UFC’s attention, there have been more than a few examples of athletes who have stumbled and fallen hard after actually facing better competition inside the octagon.
None of that rattles Della Maddalena, who welcomes whatever expectations are being placed on his shoulders as he prepares for his debut at UFC 270.
“I was super happy with that way to get in,” Della Maddalena told MMA Fighting. “It was good to get into the Contender Series, sort of see the UFC but not actually be in the UFC. It felt like a UFC fight but it wasn’t actually a UFC fight. For us, sort of everything worked out perfectly and now to have the UFC debut just around the corner, everything seems to be falling into place.
“I’m stoked with the extra [attention]. The more eyes the better. I know what I can do and I know what I’m going to do. Definitely my style, I’m going to come out there and pretty much do the same thing. My fights will be action packed until the end. I’ve just got to go out and perform and fight how I like to fight and hopefully everyone else enjoys it.”
Despite no rules surrounding how fighters are selected to receive UFC contracts from The Contender Series, the most common road taken involves a flashy knockout or jaw-dropping submission.
In Della Maddalena’s case, he actually went to a decision with opponent Ange Loosa before White called his name and as much as he would have loved a highlight reel finish, he sees a lot of value in the 15 minutes he spent in the cage before then making his UFC debut.
“I was hoping before the fight to get that knockout,” Della Maddalena explained. “Even straight after the fight, I wanted to get the knockout but looking back and even like an hour after the fight, I realized it was probably better to get those three rounds in in those specific circumstances.
“I got three rounds in and got tested in all different facets of mixed martial arts. It turned out to be a blessing for us to get those three rounds in rather than get my first three rounds in the UFC. It will not be new to me in the UFC now.”
From the time he was competing on the regional circuit in his native Australia, Della Maddalena earned a reputation for always putting on fan friendly fights that rarely got the judges involved.
He very much hopes to produce the same kind of results in the UFC but Della Maddalena is smart enough to understand that the only way he can guarantee his future in the promotion is through winning.
So that’s exactly what he plans to do starting with his fight against Pete Rodriguez on Saturday night.
“My style of fighting, it’s going to create exciting fights,” Della Maddalena said. “But even if I’m in a boring fight, I really don’t care what anyone thinks.
“As long as I get the win. I think it’s lucky that my style will bring those kind of exciting fights. It’s the way I train to fight. I couldn’t think any other way that I wouldn’t fight like that.”