With only three professional fights under his belt, Calum Murrie fast approaches the biggest challenge of his young career this weekend at EFC Worldwide 85 when he faces former featherweight titleholder and local favourite Boyd Allen.
The Scotsman makes his promotional debut in the co-main event slot for premier African promotion, Extreme Fighting Championship, who have recently reaped the rewards and is surging in popularity on these shores after an influx of British talent such as former BAMMA light-heavyweight Stuart Austin, who will compete in the main event, and Murrie’s compatriot Danny Henry who recently moved to the UFC on the back of becoming EFC Featherweight champion.
Although he is relatively inexperienced on the professional stage, Murrie enjoyed a prosperous amateur career and feels the experience he gained at that level has sufficiently prepared him for the challenges which lay ahead.
“I had 15 amateur fights and the last three or four of them were against the top amateurs in Europe, so they were pretty much pro-level fights anyway,” explained Murrie to MMA Plus.
“Since turning pro I’ve just continued fighting good guys and winning so I just need to keep training and improving to make sure this continues.”
Murrie, who hails from the small town of Dollar in Clackmannanshire, was last in action in May when he defeated Luke Ord to claim the vacant Made 4 The Cage 145lb belt at M4TC 24: Throwdown.
The bout was the first time the Scotsman had been taken the distance since turning pro however he feels he could, and should, have finished off his opponent.
“I was in dominant position for the majority of the fight,” expressed Murrie.
“I think I could have kept range with my striking better in the fight and not let him get my back against the cage so much. I also feel I should have finished that fight but he’s a good tough lad and hard to put away.”
Having been offered his EFC opportunity on four weeks notice, Murrie chose to cut short a working break in California to prepare for his upcoming bout back home in Scotland with his team at Higher Level MMA.
Known as one of the best MMA gyms in the country due to the consistent success of their fighters, Murrie can count UFC stars Stevie Ray and Joanne Calderwood amongst his teammates at the Whitburn gym.
“It’s worked out pretty well,” said Murrie when talking about taking a fight of this magnitude on short notice.
“I’m off my work just now as I was meant to be over in California training at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu for a couple of weeks. After four days over there, I decided to come home to my team at Higher Level and concentrate more on the MMA side of things and work out a specific kind of game plan to ensure I get the win in a couple of weeks time.”
Lending a helping hand to Murrie’s preparation is former EFC featherweight champion and teammate Danny Henry, who has not only fought Allen previously, but ended the South African’s title reign.
The Scot bested Allen via a fourth round TKO at EFC Worldwide 44 in October 2015 and has been passing on his knowledge of the opponent to Murrie.
“I’ve been getting good rounds in with Danny for this fight,” revealed the 30-year-old. “He’s been helping me out a lot. Obviously it helps that he’s fought him as he knows where his strengths and weaker areas are.”
Wanting to emulate the success of fellow Brits Henry and Yannick Bahati in winning EFC gold, Murrie now has the chance to blaze his own trail in the African promotion whilst doing so and put his name on the map.
With an all-British clash between Gavin Hughes and Deon Brunning also featured on this weekend’s card and Jay Cucciniello’s headline turn at EFC Worldwide 64, EFC seem committed to signing more UKMMA talent which gives fighters like Murrie a bigger stage in which to perform and develop than they would have been provided back in Britain.
“It’s a step up in terms of promotion and it’s a great platform to gain exposure,” said Murrie when discussing EFC’s appeal.
“Their shows look very professionally run from what I’ve seen back home, with 8000 people in attendance and millions watching on tv in South Africa, it’s going to be a great buzz fighting there.”
Having signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion, the Scotsman is more than happy to put down roots in EFC, develop his game and has his eyes firmly set on the prize of featherweight gold during his tenure.
“I just take it one fight at a time,” said Murrie about his title aspirations.
“Of course in an ideal world I’d like to win this fight and get a pop at the featherweight title but it’s a six-fight contract so I’m not going anywhere else for a while. I’ll just enjoy my fights in South Africa, keep enjoying my training and keep improving.”