SBG featherweight Dylan Tuke (3-1) has spent some time away from the cage, but on Nov. 10 he will make his long awaited return when he takes on David Khalsa at BAMMA 32.
The Irishman was last seen in action back at Bellator 169 last December when he took on last minute replacement Cameron Else at the 3 Arena in Dublin. Tuke suffered the first loss of his career, but having taken some away to reflect on things and get his life in order, he’s now able to draw on the positives that came from the situation.
“I’ve been pretty much just sorting my life out,” Tuke said with a laugh. “It’s easy to get caught up in this crazy life and I’m only 21 so I just wanted to take some time off from everything. After the Cameron fight I kinda just sat down with the likes of Chris Fields, Luka [Jelcic], Aisling [Daly] and I just had a chat with them and we agreed it would be good for me if I had some time off.
“I just wanted to sort out of some of the smaller things in my life like my living arrangements, just smaller stuff like that. I’m now living with Luka who’s like a big brother to me now. I found that I just needed the time to get all the smaller things in my life outside of MMA sorted so that I could go back to loving my training.”
A Whirlwind 2016
Tuke’s decision to step away from the spotlight in the last few months looks a well measured decision when reflecting on the latter half of his year in 2016. After starting things off in style with his second professional win in February against Mark Andrew, he was then involved in a war with Englishman Adam Ventre where he had to endure a first round onslaught before pulling out the win in round two.
Fast forward to December and he was then booked to fight Sean Tobin on BAMMA 28 on the undercard of the Bellator 169 show. Tobin then pulled out the fight and in a whirlwind of events he then found himself agreeing to fight Else on the Bellator portion of the card. Despite the craziness of the situation, Tuke doesn’t use it as an excuse and he said that he knew what he was getting into.
“I’ll say this, Sean Tobin is a b***, he’s a f***ing p****,” Tuke said. “Check his record, he’s a p**** who pulls out of fights knowing he’s going to pull four weeks before. He’s a little b****. Fair f***ing play to Cameron though, he took me on a weeks’ notice and moved up a weight class to do it. We got a payday.
“The whole camp was weird and I wasn’t surprised when that b**** pulled. Did I get a get a little f***ed over by the whole thing? Maybe, but I knew what I was getting into and I remember chatting with Aisling about the whole thing and I knew just with the feeling with Tobin pulling that my head wasn’t in the right place. Cameron stepped in, I said yeah just as always do. I heard he beat Paddy Pimblett so I thought it would be a good scrap like.”
Quickly Coming To Terms With Defeat
The fight lasted only 20-seconds. Else caught Tuke with a series of hooks in an exchange on the feet and before the Irishman knew it referee Marc Goddard called a stop to the fight. Reflecting on the loss now, Tuke realizes it wasn’t just a defeat, but also a eye opener that he needed to make some changes.
“I went into there got caught early and yeah, I just remember heading back to the dressing room and I was sat there laughing,” Tuke said. I had a bit of a cry, but I quickly got my head around it all. I remember just saying to Chris that I need to be sort out of my life. I knew I wasn’t 100-percent in it at that moment and that I needed to sort things out. Whatever I was sitting on and I had to get it sorted.
“I knew I had to be all in on MMA.
“It was a little crazy because I remember not being overly upset. I was in a weird position. I woke up the next day and the sun rose. It wasn’t as bad as first thought. After that it felt like I had a no lease and I was able to stop, reflect, relax and get back to the drawing board. I realized at that point that I hadn’t been enjoying my training because of all the distractions. I felt like I was going with the flow of things and that’s horrible to say. I’ve been fighting six years and I should never have got myself into that position. I’m glad to say the gym is now like it was when I started.
“I’m happy again and the gym is my sanctuary. I’m reborn.”
Tuke’s return in November is one of the mostly highly anticipated fights on the BAMMA 32 card. His opponent David Khalsa is currently undefeated and has been impressive in both of his BAMMA showings so far with wins over Charlie Howard and Tuke’s teammate, Cian Cowley.
“I’ll be honest, I know absolutely f*** all about him,” Tuke said. “I’ve seen two of his fights and he looks wild so it should be fun. I saw his one with Cian and I saw another fight where he got chucked out. What can I say? He looks like he’s got a good two and a half minutes in him and after that he starts to go downhill.
“I’m ready for it man. Let’s go have some fun. I’m always the same whoever I fight. I’ll come down to the cage looking a crazy lunatic, dancing and when I go in there I’ll be having fun. There’s going to be no drastic change to my style or anything like that.
“My style is go out there and finish.”
“I’m just going to win and I don’t care if it’s in the first ten seconds or the final ten seconds. I’m just going to win and I’m a soldier. A good mentor of mine told me a while a go, I’m a soldier and I know nothing else. A solider doesn’t go into battle and question himself. A soldier is prepared to go to battle and it’s what he lives for. I’m a solider and all I’ve ever done is fight. Whether it’s been in the street or in martial arts.
“All I’ve ever done is fight. I’m just ready to do this. I’m like Chucky Reborn. Don’t call it a comeback”
The Irish Crowd
Anyone who’s been to an MMA show in the 3 Arena will know that the support the Irish fans show for their fighters is something special. Even in defeat, Tuke recalls the reception he’s received so far in his career and he can’t wait to experience in again in November.
“One of the thing I’ll always remember is the crowd after I lost,” Tuke said. “I’d never lost before so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I remember looking out at the crowd and them still going mental for me. I remember just sat their smiling to myself with my hand up. I look at it now and I’ll never forget that.
“I’ve never seen myself so happy in a bad situation.”
“It was cool so quickly to see the light shining through so quickly and it’s amazing to have that support. I’m always humble and taken back by it all. I’m just a young kid in this crazy sport. I’m just living my dream and taking my own journey to becoming a world champion.
“I’m just excited to get back in there and have fun.”