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Unbeaten Ross Houston sees Cage Warriors title as ‘golden ticket’ to the UFC

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Dolly Clew, Cage Warriors

Undefeated Scottish welterweight Ross Houston believes that the Cage Warriors welterweight title will grant him a “golden ticket” to the UFC.

Currently on a four-fight win streak with the promotion, Houston hopes to emulate the likes of Dan Hardy, Cathal Pendred, Pascal Krauss and Nicolas Dalby, who all were granted Octagon debuts on the back of their title-winning feats with Cage Warriors.

“The Hitman” takes on champion Stefano Paterno this weekend at Cage Warriors 98 in Birmingham and revealed that the buzz back home in Inverness is building for the title tussle.

“We’re about four hours north of Glasgow,” Houston told Peter Carroll on the latest episode of Eurobash. “Everyone thinks that Scotland is just Glasgow and Edinburgh, but I stay in Inverness; we’re about four hours north of the wall. Nothing big really happens around here, so we’re all getting together and we’re buzzing. They’re ready for me to take that scalp on Saturday.”

Houston highlighted that Saturday’s event will be a showcase of future Scottish MMA stars. Joining him on the card are Paull McBain, who takes on Aidan Lee in the semi-final of the promotion’s featherweight tournament, and Scott Malone, who is set to face Adam Amarasinghe in a bantamweight bout.

“There’s a new wave of Scottish fighters coming through. We have reinforcements coming to help the guys who have been holding down the fort for years,” said Houston.

“You’ve got me and Paull McBain fighting this weekend. McBain is in a four-man tournament for the belt. Scott Malone is another guy that’s coming through the ranks and Chris Bungard just signed for Bellator. We’ve got Chris Duncan and Aidan Stephen too, so we’ve got some good guys and I think big things are going to happen.”

Although Houston has had offers on the table to join other promotions, he felt it was in his interest to stay put given that Cage Warriors has established itself as the proven path to the UFC

“I had a few offers from a few different places, but I’m in a good position with Cage Warriors. I started in this sport to get to the UFC, not to make money. The way I look at it, I’ve got a title shot now and once you get that belt it’s the golden ticket to get into the UFC. I might have to defend [the title] a few times, but this is the direct route,” stated Houston.

“That’s always been my goal. I didn’t get into this sport for any other reason. I’m sticking to the route and it’s all going to happen I can feel it.”

The Scot hopes to have the title wrapped around his waist within ten minutes of the contest getting underway:

“I’m going to put that pressure on him early on, from the first bell. I’ll wear him down in any physical exchange; on the feet, against the cage or on the ground — wherever it goes. I don’t think he’s going to like it. I think he’ll go back to his corner at the end of the first round and he’ll know I’m too much for him. Then he’ll crumble in the second round.”

On the latest episode of Eurobash, MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll chats with Irish journalist Niall McGrath about the latest MMA news from Europe. The Ross Houston interview begins at 24:45.

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