Bellator 286: Adam Borics on his journey from tiny village in Hungary to world title bid

Adam Borix fights for a world title at Bellator on Saturday
Meeting point: Long Beach Arena, USA Date: Saturday October 1st
Cover: Live coverage on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app from 23:55 BST, with highlights on BBC Three at 20:00 BST on Sunday 2 October.

Adam Borics has a chance to make history when he takes on Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire for the featherweight title at Bellator 286 on Saturday.

Bellator has never had a Hungarian champion, and Boric’s journey from Sirok, which has a population of just 2,000, to the main event in Long Beach, California, has been anything but smooth.

He flew to the United States in 2016, aged 23, with a 9-0 record after tearing up the regional and European scene but “with no money”.

He traveled to Florida and visited Henri Hooft’s Combat Club gym where he made an immediate impression on the legendary Dutch trainer, who has worked with Kamaru Usman, Luke Rockhold and Rashad Evans.

“I spent three weeks there and he (Hooft) said ‘you have to stay here because you’re going to be world champion,'” Borics tells BBC Sport.

Fortunately, with his name starting to get some attention after just three weeks in the United States, Borics was approached by a management team.

“It was a typical American dream story, two managers came to me and said ‘we’ll help you make the move,'” he says.

“It was perfect timing, Bellator was coming to Hungary and they invited me to fight. I signed a contract for one fight, won that fight and got a long-term contract.

“So I got a visa and then I was able to move to the US. It was crazy.”

After winning a long-term deal, Borics, who had a full-time job and was studying physical education at university in Hungary, concluded that he needed to be in the US to achieve his ambition of becoming a world champion.

“Financially it was very difficult and I remember one day I decided to drop out of university and focus on racing,” he says.

“At the time it was the biggest thing in my life, those two managers helped me the first year because it was crazy when I moved there.”

His contract with Bellator meant that a visa was issued immediately, but that was not the case for his girlfriend.

This was only the first of many obstacles he had to overcome when he wanted to start a new chapter in his life.

“We were supposed to get married in two weeks. We just signed the papers in Hungary,” says Borics.

“After two weeks I broke my arm and couldn’t fight for almost a year and a week later a hurricane arrived.”

With fighting off the table, Borix had no regular source of income, so he and his wife volunteered to help out at the gym to make ends meet.

Borics says: “We cleaned the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two years and it was very difficult.

Adam Borics kisses his wife Zsófia Perge
Borix arranged a quick wedding so his partner Zofia could accompany him to the US

“I remember sitting with my wife in front of the hospital [after confirmation his hand was broken] and we were just crying.

“I was training twice a day with a broken arm, running, swimming, kicking the bag. My two managers, Alex and Sam, helped with everything and without them I wouldn’t be here.

“They really believed in me and now we’re here and I’ll be forever grateful for their help.”

Borics believes that this period of his life prepared him for the challenges ahead.

“It made me stronger and it made me more humble,” she says.

“I’ll never forget where I came from, I didn’t come from a rich background and I had to work for everything, that’s why I am who I am today.”

Borics takes on the legendary ‘Pitbull’ at Bellator 286, aiming to become the first Nungarian world champion in Bellator or the UFC.

With an overall record of 18-1 and riding a four-fight winning streak, Boric says he’s not fazed by the prospect of facing the 35-year-old former two-weight champion.

“He motivates me because he’s the number one guy pound for pound, but I want to be the best and I’m ready to be a world champion,” he says.

“I feel like this is the right time. I feel like I’m better than him everywhere and I have a lot of confidence. I really respect what he’s done and he’s been a great champion, but his reign will come to an end.”

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