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On Friday one of Ireland’s best and brightest MMA prospects makes his professional debut at BAMMA 29 in Birmingham. SBG’s Cian Cowley will bring his extensive thai boxing experience into the cage inside the Genting Arena to face fellow debutant David Khalsa and, as he said to, all the years of of grafting in the gym have prepared him to make the walk in England on May 12th.

“All the hard work is done now”, Cowley says. “I’ve been over to Portugal and Iceland, everything is done. I’m real relaxed now. I feel just calm and good now. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in. I’ve done everything everything right. I’m just looking forward to Friday now. I know everything’s going to blow up and I’m ready for it.”

Cowley, a long rangy striker, has been part of the SBG family for years soaking in the quality training which comes part and parcel with being in a Conor McGregor fight camp. Cowley was a chief sparring partner for McGregor as he prepared for the second Nate Diaz bout last summer and witnessing first-hand the blueprint that the UFC lightweight champion has set in place throughout his journey to the top of the sport has proved invaluable for Cowley.

Transitioning to the professional ranks, particularly for someone of Cowley’s very specific skill-set, feels like an unshackling for the Dubliner. The knees and elbows which make up one half of the Cowley’s eight point attacking arsenal are outlawed in the amateur game but very much back on the menu for his professional debut.

“This feels now that this is the start of my career. I feel like the chains are coming off now. That’s the only way I can explain it; I’m free now. I’m in there for three five minute rounds. I’m allowed elbow him, I’m allowed knee him. I’m allowed do everything that I’m comfortable with doing now. There’s no holding back.

As with everyone who comes through the SBG system, Cowley brings with him to the cage an aura of inexhaustible confidence. This Friday, he says, he intends to make his first steps to being known as one of the best fighters in the world.

“I’m at the stage now where I’m one good performance from going viral worldwide. One nice performance, one nice finish and I’ll be straight up there. I could be only three or four fights away from the UFC. I have all the right shit to do it. I can fight.”