Born in Nepean Hospital and growing up in Penrith, former St Marys Senior High School student turned Aussie UFC star Tyson Pedro admits he still pinches himself when people recognise him in the street.
“I thought getting recognised in Penrith was pretty crazy but what’s even crazier is people asking for photos in other countries,” he told the Weekender.
“I find it amazing that people in Las Vegas and LA know who I am. It’s amazing how much UFC has spread around the world.”
The 26-year-old should start bracing himself for even more fans when he goes head to head with American fighter Ovince Saint Peux in Singapore next month.
The June 23 event – dubbed UFC Fight Night Asia – will be the first time Pedro has ever fought professionally in Asia.
“I’ve always wanted to crack the Asian market, I’m so happy this fight is in Singapore,” he said.
To prepare himself for one of the biggest bouts of his career, Pedro recently returned home from the United States after training with UFC megastar Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at his ranch/gym in New Mexico.
Pedro said it was non-stop training for the majority of his trip, except for the one day a week they had ‘off’ to recover.
“With Cowboy, our rest days consisted of wakeboarding, mountain bike riding and rock climbing – it’s called active recovery,” he explained.
“We were doing anywhere from three to five sessions a day, six days a week – it’s probably the most I’ve trained and I’ve actually lost quite a bit of weight.
“I met with my nutritionist when I got home to help put the weight back on, he’ll send out meals to me. I know I’ll be given a crazy amount of food, it’ll be like force feeding myself.”
When Pedro isn’t developing his martial arts abroad with some of the sport’s best, he’s back at home training in his Penrith garage alongside fellow UFC fighter and brother-in-law Tai Tuivasa. Pedro said his garage is just like everyone else’s until he backs the cars out.
“Tai and I call my garage ‘the shed’, we like the nitty gritty of it,” he said.
“We grew up training in the garage and that’s where I originally started doing karate with my dad. You don’t need a lot of fancy stuff – just a body and hard work rate.
“I’ll eventually have my own gym one day but, for now, I move the cars out and put the mats down.”
Nathan Taylor is the Western Weekender’s award-winning sports journalist. Nathan is also the Weekender’s Deputy Editor.