There's no better underdog story this year than Tyson Nam.
Training out of the Sports Lab in Portland, Oregon, the 12-4 fighter stepped up and volunteered to take on Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas at Shooto Brazil 33 in Rio de Janeiro.
Dantas was widely regarded as one of the best 135-pound fighters on the planet. Nam? Completely unranked.
That'll no longer be the case now as in a tremendous upset, the Hawaiian landed a perfect right hook to the chin of "Dudu,"sending him crashing to the canvas completely unconscious and scoring an emphatic first round knockout in hostile territory.
It was just as he had visualized in his pre-fight interview.
Nam spoke with MMAmania.com earlier today about his incredible upset, the reaction from the Brazilian crowd and what he thinks is next for him in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's start with the most obvious question. How'd it feel to get that knockout because it's clearly the biggest win of your career and people are really buzzing about it?
Tyson Nam: It's pretty much, words can't describe it. That's probably why I bolted and started running out of the place because I didn't know what to do with myself. It was just shocking that it would end in that fashion and it's an awesome feeling in general. It's almost too good to be true. This is by far the biggest moment of my career. I'm flying high right now. I feel so good about it.
Tyson Nam: The funny story behind that was, me and Phil, my coach, we're going through a whole lot of visualization. He's like, "Okay, how do you see the first exchange?" and I'm like, "I'm gonna do this," and he goes, "What are you gonna do next?"
"I'm gonna knock him out."
"What are you gonna do when you knock him out?"
We did this a couple times and I jokingly said, "You know what? I'm gonna run." And that's what happened, we ran. We actually ran. Just off the visualization beforehand I guess. (laughs)
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In our interview before this fight, you mentioned that you'd heard Dantas wanted to test out his striking against you for this fight. Do you think that came back to bite him?
Tyson Nam: I consider myself a pretty good striker, maybe at times a little underrated. I always like my chances when I end up going toe-to-toe with somebody so I didn't think it was his bad on his part. He was catching me with good strikes. I was catching him with good strikes but I caught him pretty clean to end the match. With the way the fight was going, it was either gonna be him getting the knockout or I was gonna knock him out, plain and simple.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Have you landed that nasty of a one-hitter-quitter before?
Tyson Nam: I've done it once but maybe not that long. That shot on Dantas was picture perfect right on the button.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Everyone has been talking about it. What was the reaction like in Brazil? You go into hostile territory and you take out their champion. That had to be a pretty big deal over there.
Tyson Nam: Oh it was a very big deal. I swear when that happened, maybe it was just my emotional reaction, but I swear I thought I heard crickets in the crowd after knocking him out. It was like someone found the "off switch" for them.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Well here's the big question now. What's next for Tyson Nam? People seem very interested in what you're doing next.
Tyson Nam: My manager over at Iridium is trying to make a deal with the UFC to put me up on the big stage. I'm hoping that would go through. That's what we're shooting for right now and hoping that would happen.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): If that doesn't fall through, would you ever consider doing something like what Travis Wiuff did, where he beat the Bellator champion and then went into the tournament and made it to the finals?
Tyson Nam: Maybe. I want to fight and any organization that would have me. I'll be glad to do it. I'd love to be on the big stage again.
Tyson would like to thank the guys at Sports Lab in Portland, Oregon, his agent Iridium Sports, Virus, C20, Conca, For U Nutrition, Training Mask all his family and friends from Hawaii and his girlfriend. You can follow him on Twitter @TysonNam.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Is this a prime candidate for "Upset of the Year?" What do you think the future holds in store for Nam after his incredible knockout performance?