Tyson Pedro on life on the shelf, his recovery and return to the UFC

When asked what the toughest part of his time away from the UFC was, Tyson Pedro took a long pause. He said, “I can’t stress enough how much I love fighting and love training.” Not getting to do what he loves is a real downer, he added. It affected everything in my life – I could tell that it was affecting my relationships, affecting how I treated everything.

“You know when people say “love yourself”? That’s what I’ve been doing for myself. “I wake up every morning and love going into the gym and getting punched in the head, so not being able go there was pretty stressful.”

Pedro will return at the UFC Fight Night 207 event against journeyman Ike Villante. It’s a kind matchup for the Australian, with 37-year-old Joe Duffy losing four of his five fights at the sport’s top promotion, UFC.

“It’s been too long.” It was almost a bother at first with all of these pressures from everyone asking when I would fight again – but it is good.

Pedro has been injured for three years, the first time was when he tore his ACL in his last professional fight in late 2018. He had a hamstring graft surgery.

When he tore his meniscus, he had to undergo a third surgery. Doctors told him that things could easily deterioriate if he didn’t get the operation.

“When they saw the hamstring they said ‘mate, this is like a band-aid’. If it happens again, you’re out for a really long time. If you want to avoid having surgery, you can either do the patellectomy (remove the kneecap) or risk having your knee blown out again.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. They said I could fight soon, or do another 12 months on the sideline. But I know it was the right call now.”

The best sign, Pedro said, came recently when he woke up and accidentally put his knee brace on his good leg because he couldn’t tell the difference.

“Pretty much the entire time I knew I would be fighting again – but when your family gets involved, and people ask me if I am going to return to bricklaying – I’m like, ‘Come on guys!'”

He credits some brutal rehabilitation at Ethos Performance – along with conditioning coach Meer Awwany – as the main catalyst of his recovery.

He said, “I owe him a big favor. He wouldn’t accept any payment other than that.”

“Whatever we could possibly do.” “I would be sitting on a box or doing ski rows, and he was always pushing me, and I was always maintaining a certain level of fitness, as as well as the mental aspect.”

The 30-year old has been busy while not training. With his mate and UFC heavyweight fighter Tai Tuivasa, he launched his own beer, Drink West. They also opened a wings and beer restaurant. They’ve just opened a new Italian restaurant in Penrith.

Some people might be jealous if they weren’t able to go out and play sports with their friends while their best friend was playing in the World Cup. But for Pedro, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

“I’ve seen him go to the moon, and it was amazing.” “I hope that he achieves everything he wants to achieve, and I’m happy to hear that he’s changed his lifestyle and has achieved some things.”

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