Regis Sugden [Photo Credit: Mark Blundell]

Regis “The First” Sudgen is set to make his professional MMA debut at BAMMA 17, December 6 at the Manchester Victoria Warehouse after signing a 18-month contract with the UK promotion.

“I was thrilled knowing that I was going to be a part of the biggest MMA promotion in Europe,” said Sugden “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I was so excited that BAMMA wanted to take me on that journey.”

Coming from a kickboxing background, Sugden has refuted rumours that he will struggle to compete with wrestlers inside the cage.

“It’s taken about four or five years of hard work to transition from being stood up to on the floor but I feel I’m ready now to test all of my skills at a professional level.”

Regis’s older brother Chad Sugden is a professional kickboxer, who fights regularly on international K-1 shows, and the younger Sugden has claimed his experience travelling around the world with his sibling will give him the edge in Manchester: “I’ve been there with him on the big shows and I think that will play a huge part when I make my professional debut.

Sudgen’s BAMMA debut will mark the first national MMA exposure his hometown of Newark or Suggy’s Gym will be experiencing, and he feels it is long overdue:  “Newark is my home town so of course I feel very proud to be representing it at this level.

“Neither our gym nor our town get the credit they deserve for producing top level professional fighters, all of whom are home-grown talent, including myself, my brother Chad and also my cousin Fergus Taylor who is a professional boxer fighting out of Suggy’s Gym.”

The 19 year-old added that as well as the renowned K-1 and boxing Suggy’s Gym he has expanded his training to other well known MMA camps in the East Midlands and London.

“I am a stand up striker and I do most of my training at Suggy’s Gym, including my striking and strength and conditioning.

“But I also train with Jimmy Wallhead three times a week, which includes sparring and drilling, and at 4th Dimension MMA in Nottingham, as well as doing two BJJ sessions a week with Jude Samuels at Urban Kings Gym. But I am a stand up fighter – I am in there to knock people out.”

Sudgen was originally scheduled to face Ben Dearden but after an injury he now faces Paul Bentley (1-0) out of Eagle MMA, Crawley. Despite the change, the Newark native claimed he is ready for ‘anyone’ inside the cage: “I’m just going to do what I always do – go out there to fight and beat anyone who’s out in front of me.”

Dean Sugden, the father and head coach of Regis also noted his enthusiasm to take his gym to the next level by having his fighters compete in MMA.

Dean said: “My ambition is to have world renowned champions in K-1, MMA and Pro Boxing. So I’m loving the success that Suggy’s Gym is achieving with its home grown talent; we pride ourselves on this and thrive on being the best. And being out of our comfort zone in competition is something else we thrive on – we’re all natural competitors so it brings out the best in us.”