The most recent Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event took place in Sydney, and Australia seems to have overtaken a couple of countries, including England, on the ZUFFA list of priorities. Matchmakers are well aware that as they move into new territories they need to find local talent and that means that they will have their eye on any up and coming fighters in these areas.
One mixed martial artist in Australia who seems to be well and truly on the right track is 22 year-old Ben Wall. He is unbeaten in seven MMA fights with a 6-0-1 record and is coming off a big win at Cage Fighting Championship, the continent's most prestigious promotion.
He has come up the hard way, facing reputable fighters like Nick Honstein, Robert Lisita and Shane Wundenburg and cannot be accused of passing his record or of taking easy fights.
With such a strong record at such a young age the sky seems to be the limit for this young man and he has every chance of following in the footsteps of Australian based fighters George Sotiropoulos and Bernardo Magalhaes by making his way into the UFC.
He spoke exclusively to MMAmania.com about his ambitions as a fighter and the state of Australian MMA.
When did you start learning martial arts and why?
I was always good at sports when I was growing up and I pick up new sports quite quickly. I was good at them but I never really enjoyed them as much as I thought I should, I liked playing all sports but I didn't 'love' them. I believe you have to love what you do to reach your full potential. I had done a bit of wrestling and other martial arts when I was a teenager but not too seriously until I started MMA when I was 19 and I knew it was the sport for me and from then on I put everything into it.
Where do you train and who are your training partners?
The main two places I train at are Advance Martial Arts and Team Gamebred in Brisbane. My main training partners at these places are Brendan O'Reilly, Simon Clough, Matt Cooper and Jarret Owen. I really like to travel around and train with different people, I work on my boxing with Jimmy Shannon and I love going up to the Sunshine Coast to train with Ryan Dunstan, I really enjoy training with him, he's a great fighter and a great coach with a lot of experience. I fight out of Advance Martial Arts.
Do you have a full time job?
No I don't work full time, there would be no time to train. I work part time and I am a university student however I have taken this semester off uni and will be able to focus on MMA even more.
Who is the toughest opponent you have ever faced in your career?
It's hard to say who my toughest opponent has been, I haven't really been in danger in a fight yet. Rob Lisita, Nick Honstein and Shane Wundenberg are all tough guys.
Are you hoping to fight for a major league international promotion in the future?
Yes, One FC have said they are keen to have me on future events and would definitely like to see me on the card. I hope to be on the card for One FC 4 which is hopefully not too far away and I will fight anyone they want to give me.
Are there any fighters in Australia at your weight you particularly want to fight?
Not really I just want to fight the best guys. I would like to fight for the CFC Lightweight title and if Trekko (Bernardo Magalhaes) comes back to defend it I would like to fight him or else I will just fight whoever. I would like that title though and I want to fight Bernardo because he is the best in Australia and he has the title, as far as I know he just had a one fight contract with the UFC and I'm not sure if he will be offered another fight with them. I have a feeling he will be back to defend his CFC title but if not and the title is vacated then I wish him all the best and I would be happy to fight anyone else for the title.
You fought four times in five months in 2011 and then took six months off, was there a reason for that?
I injured my elbow in my win against Nick Honstein and this meant that I had to pull out of my fights against Jai Bradney and Greg Atzori and take a few months off. My fight against Rob Lisita was my next fight after this.
Do you know when your next fight will be?
At the moment I do not know when my next fight will be.
How popular is MMA in Australia?
MMA is not a huge sport in Australia yet but the future looks bright, it is growing bigger every day and gaining a lot more interest.
Are you hoping to stay just as active in 2012?
Yes, I hope to have four or five fights in 2012.
When I look at an up and coming prospect I tend to take into consideration three factors; their record, their age and the strength of opposition they have faced. Ben Wall is very young, has an outstanding record and has consistently beaten more experienced fighters with more wins than him.
It's probably too early for him to start pushing for a UFC contract but Sotiropoulos was already in his 30s when he got the call so time is well and truly on Wall's side. If he can continue to hold his own against the top fighters on the highly competitive Australian scene it is only a matter of time before he breaks out and becomes an international star.