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Inspired by UFC Liverpool, Arnold Allen dreams of bringing the UFC to Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:00 23 March 2018

Suffolk's UFC star Arnold Allen dreams of bringing the world-famous octagon to Ipswich - and Portman Road. Picture: PA SPORT

Suffolk's UFC star Arnold Allen dreams of bringing the world-famous octagon to Ipswich - and Portman Road. Picture: PA SPORT

EMPICS Sport

He’s one of the brightest young stars in the mixed martial arts galaxy – and Arnold Allen dreams of one day bringing the world-famous UFC to Ipswich.

Arnold Allen is one of the UFC's brightest young stars. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLCArnold Allen is one of the UFC's brightest young stars. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLC

Allen, 23, has won all three of his bouts so far in the UFC and is rising fast up the world rankings in the featherweight division, sitting right on the cusp of the top 15 fighters on the planet.

He’s just signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC and has returned to his training base at the Tristar Gym in Montreal ahead of an expected bout on the much-hyped UFC Liverpool event on May 27.

That event is the first of its kind in the city, made possible by the trail-blazing talent of Scouse superstar Darren Till and a host of emerging fighters who are making waves in the sport.

It is a scenario which the ambitious ‘Almighty’ Allen hopes he can one day bring to his hometown – and, more specifically, the home of his football club.

- MORE: Arnold Allen wins fighter of the year at Flying Knee awards

“It would be really cool to have the UFC come to Ipswich,” said the Trimley St Martin prodigy. “Portman Road especially would be a dream.

Arnold Allen has won all three of his UFC fights so far. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLCArnold Allen has won all three of his UFC fights so far. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLC

“Obviously at the moment it would just be me and (Ipswich-based Cage Warriors fighter) Corrin Eaton on the card but in the next couple of years I think there will be more coming through.”

Indeed, there are a number of elite amateurs and promising novice pros coming through the ranks at powerhouse gym BKK Fighters down the road in Colchester – where Allen started his professional career – under head coach and MMA pioneer Jack Mason.

“The talent level in this region is getting better all the time,” said Allen. “Jack is doing a great job at BKK and when I come back to the UK now there’s a good level of fighters here to train with.”

Arnold Allen, right, lands a left hook on foe Alan Omer in his UFC debut back in June 2015. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLCArnold Allen, right, lands a left hook on foe Alan Omer in his UFC debut back in June 2015. Picture: JOSH HEDGES/ZUFFA LLC

- MORE: Young, talented and unbeaten in the UFC - but Allen’s far from satisfied

Of course, before Allen can think about bringing the UFC to Suffolk, he’s got to break into the very top level of fighters on the planet – and that’s something he intends to do in short order, starting in Liverpool.

“It will be huge,” he said of the Liverpool event. “I think it will be bigger and better even than the London events because Liverpool is such a fight town and there’s so many great characters among the fighters.

Portman Road is the home of Ipswich Town. Picture: MIKE PAGEPortman Road is the home of Ipswich Town. Picture: MIKE PAGE

“I want to keep active and hopefully get three more wins so by the end of this year I’m sitting in the top 15 rankings, I can sign another contract and start getting the money which the top 15 guys deserve and which I’ll deserve when I’m in there.

“The end goal is still the same – to be wearing the UFC title belt. There’s no point doing it unless you want to be the best.”

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