Team Quest Anti-Hero Tyson Jeffries was thrilled when he found out that his next bout would be his first on national TV. After six months in limbo, the M-1 Selection Series tournament champion not only finally made it on to a card, but will be in the first M-1 Global event broadcast on Showtime in Norfolk, Virginia.
M-1 Global officially announced its broadcast deal with Showtime Sports last week, stating that the first Showtime event would correspond with the European MMA promotion’s return to the US on March 25. However, in the five months between Jeffries’ tournament win and the closing of the Showtime deal, M-1 has been holding events in Moscow, Russia. For most of the Anti-Hero’s tenure with M-1, the country his next bout wwould be in was up in the air. After a seesaw of suggested locations, Jeffries is happy about where his fight ultimately ended up.
“I’d much rather [the bout] would be in the United States,” said Jeffries. “I’m happier not having to deal with the time change or the [other hassles].”
While he enjoys the location, the prospect of appearing on a Showtime card was the biggest win for Jeffries. The young up-and-comer described the sudden increase in exposure as “unreal” and “an honor.”
With his bout in Virginia only a month away, Jeffries still has no official opponent. He is currently slated to fight the winner of the headlining bout between Plinio Cruz and Magomed Sultanakh on March 5 in Moscow. However, given the close proximity of the two events, any significant damage done to either Cruz or Sultanakh in their bout would require Jeffries to face a replacement opponent. Jeffries training for the match was grueling including intense sparring sessions with proper protection and facing 3-4 opponents an hour.
Jeffries also went from fighting on a near monthly basis to a six month layoff. However, being a true to form scrapper both in and out of the ring, neither the timing nor the opponent are of much concern to the Team Quest prospect.
“It really doesn’t effect me,” Jeffries said. “I’m available to take whatever fights they give me. You have eight weeks to prepare or four weeks to prepare. It really doesn’t matter.”
Jeffries did admit that he has some interest in a potential rematch with Cruz. During the Selection Series tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Jeffries’ closest bout was his semi-final tilt with Cruz. At the end of a grueling three rounds, Jeffries came out the victor of a split decision, where a deducted point from Cruz’s many accidental low-blows appeared to make the difference on the cards.
“I’d love to fight Plinio, again,” Jeffries explained. “The first time we fought I didn’t know what to expect. I only saw one video of him. I knew he was a great striker and that he was a south paw. And that was it… I want to prove to everyone that I wasn’t just lucky that he kicked me in [the groin].”
In Atlantic City, Jeffries was a Team Quest outsider fighting mostly Jersey locals. In spite of taking multiple home-town heroes out of the game, Jeffries managed to win over the crowd with his rough neck fighting style and his boisterous in-ring sense of humor. Whether he will be as popular in Virginia, Jeffries can’t say.
“I don’t expect anything from a crowd,” said Jeffries. “I put on a good performance and good things happen. When I first went in [in Jersey] everyone was booing me and at the end of the fight everyone was chanting my name.”