Fighting can be a brutal sport in many ways, and Jack Della Maddalena has the scars to prove it.
The welterweight prospect, who moved to 2-0 in the octagon with a second straight knockout at UFC 276, didn’t start his career with nearly as much momentum as he has now. In fact, the Perth, Australia native suffered back-to-back losses to kick off his MMA run, with his second fight resulting in a nasty broken nose that essentially reshaped his entire face.
“I’ve got a pretty bad nose,” Della Maddalena said with a laugh on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “It’s been smashed in.
“I think it happened in my second MMA fight. I got kneed straight in the nose and since that day, it’s been facing the wrong way.”
It turns out that loss ended up as arguably the most pivotal moment in Della Maddalena’s career, because at 0-2 after two fights, he was already at a crossroads about his future.
Despite the rough start, the 25-year-old fighter was determined to keep moving forward — and that’s when he made a pact with his head coach that he wouldn’t taste defeat again.
“I lost my first fight and then went into another fight and had lost two fights,” he explained. “My coach wasn’t there the second time around but we spoke on the phone, we thought I was better than being an 0-2 fighter and we made that pact to get to 10-2.
“It seemed like a massive goal at that stage to get 10 wins in a row, but we just slowly worked at it and made it happen.”
Della Maddalena followed through on his promise of winning 10 consecutive fights, with his final victory coming on Dana White’s Contender Series to earn him a contract in the UFC.
In hindsight, Della Maddalena never doubted his ability to make it to the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world, but he can’t deny things would have gone much differently had he somehow dropped to 0-3 in his career.
“You definitely have a little bit of doubt in your head that maybe this isn’t the sport for me,” Della Maddalena said. “If I had gone 0-3, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here. So it’s just a matter of getting that first win and then just going for the second win. It’s a slow process but I still love the sport. I love training, and my coach put a lot of confidence in me that we could get to 10-2. We just stuck to it.
“There was a little bit of that pressure [for that third fight], but it was no different than any other fight. It was just at that point when you’re locked into a fight, I don’t really think about all the extra pressure and all that. I just try to think of the task at hand, so it’s just a matter about getting the job done. No extra pressure than any other fight, but yeah, of course, knowing if I lose that fight, I probably would not be where I am now, I wouldn’t think.”
Now 12-2 in his career, Della Maddalena has quickly become a name to watch at 170 pounds as he moves forward with plans to compete at least twice more in 2022.
He’s often talked about seeking out the toughest possible opponents the UFC could give him, which is why Della Maddalena would be excited if his next fight came against somebody already ranked in the top 15.
“I always want to fight bigger and better competition, to be honest,” Della Maddalena said. “Anyone better than the last guy is good to me. If that is a possibility, hell yeah I’d be into that. I’d be into the best ranked guy I can. If I could get a top-15 guy now, I’d absolutely be on the moon.”
As far as his mangled nose goes, Della Maddalena will eventually address that as well, though it probably won’t be for at least a few more years.
“I am going to get it fixed one day,” Della Maddalena said. “But I thought what’s the point of getting it fixed now when my job is to get punched in it. But I will get it fixed one day.”