'He's a finisher and I'm a finisher - it's a fight not to be missed' - Carter on Cage Warriors 105 clash with Barnett
PUBLISHED: 13:47 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:47 28 May 2019
Sean Carter admits he never dreamed that he'd one day headline a major promotion in his hometown - but now that he is, he fully intends to put on a show.
Carter meets Tim Barnett in the main event of Cage Warriors 105 in Colchester on Friday, the fight between two of Europe's best 155-pounders topping what is the biggest MMA show the region has ever seen.
And the 34-year-old (12-6 MMA, 6-3 Cage Warriors), can't wait to make that walk at the Charter Hall, live on UFC Fight Pass.
"It's an exciting prospect," he said. "I've been fortunate enough to fight internationally and across the UK in big arenas, but I'm really excited to be on this show.
"I never thought this day would come. Only being an hour away from London, I thought that would be the closest we'd get to a local card - short of a UFC or someone on that level coming here and selling out the Colchester United stadium, this is probably the biggest venue in probably the biggest town in the South East.
"There's two big things for fighters - fighting in Vegas or a fight capital like that, and headlining in your hometown."
In Barnett (6-2-1 MMA, 1-1-1 CW), Carter faces a stern test - the 29-year-old is a talented striker who stopped the highly-rated Adam Ventre at Cage Warriors 101 in February.
Indeed, the fight is already being talked about as an eliminator for the title which Jai Herbert and Jack Grant will do battle for at Cage Warriors 106 'Night of Champions' at the Hammersmith Appollo next month.
"The Cage Warriors lightweight division is the best in the country," said Carter, who's won nine of his fights by submission. "He's going to be a good fighter and I'm a good fighter, and we're going to put on a hell of a fight.
"He's a finisher and I'm a finisher - it's a fight not to be missed.
"The days of grappler v striker fights are pretty much gone now. I'm very comfortable on my feet, and I'm sure he'll be confident on the ground.
"It's an MMA match, and it's not 1996, so anything could happen.
"In terms of it being a title eliminator, I said to Jack (Mason, Carter's head coach at BKK Fighters) after my first amateur fight, when I had a couple of fights booked in, that I didn't enjoy that feeling, so since then it's been one fight at a time.
"I haven't got my eye on anything else - I'm fighting Tim on Friday and after that we can talk about the next stage or next step."
The dust-up will be Carter's first fight for almost two years, not that he's worried about cage-rust.
"If you've been out of competition and you've been sitting on the couch, as they say in boxing, and then you try and get back in shape in ten weeks you're nowhere near," he explained.
"I haven't missed a training session in two years - it won't be an issue."
Friday's card also boasts seven combatants from Carter's BKK Fighters Gym, and while some would be concerned about the psychological impact of watching team-mates win or lose before they fight themselves, the man they call 'Sexy Curls' has no such issues.
"I've been blessed with not worrying about too much," he said. "If I feel like watching one of the fights or more, I'll watch them. If I've got enough time I might go and corner one of the amateurs.
"Some people in the fight world have the pressure and anxiety start weeks before the fight, but that doesn't bother me. I don't worry about it until I'm in there."