UFC 225: Tyson Pedro on Tai Tuivasa — 'I'm so proud of where he is now'

Tyson Tai

UFC light heavyweight Tyson Pedro is writing a weekly column in the lead-up to his UFC Singapore fight with Ovince Saint-Preux. Read about his tattoos here, and read about his wild times training at Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s ranch here. This week he talks about Tai Tuivasa, who fights at UFC 225 this weekend. 

I’d known Tai for a while, but only in passing. We knew of each other, but our dads were always closer than we were.

I really met him at one of his birthdays when we had dinner with our dads there. That was when we were maybe 19 or 20 but when we both started getting serious about fighting that we got really close quite fast.

Now we’re both fighting in the UFC and he’s also got a son with my sister, Brierly.

We’re here now, but we took very different paths to get to where we are.

Tai had it rough — if you’re reading this you probably know that. He was running amok, just doing gangster shit — young thug stuff in Western Sydney.

People still get shocked about it now, but if you don’t know about it, if you don’t have to deal with it — about growing up and what it’s like in Western Sydney — then you don’t have to think about.

But that’s the life that Tai grew up in.

Depending on where you go, Western Sydney can be the best place ever. You could be in one suburb and not get in any trouble in your life, but if you move a suburb over, you’re just immersed in it.

Sometimes it’s not even that much. You could be having dinner in Mt. Druitt somewhere, then go down the road to the train station and it’s completely different. The atmosphere just changes.

 

Say something ?? #ufc221 #brothers #winners

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And that’s the place Tai’s from — he was always in it. Always fighting.

You always heard, “Tai knocked someone out on the weekend” or. “Tai got into another fight.”

I’m honestly surprised he wasn’t in jail.

Some people punch someone in the nose and have an assault charge the next weekend. Tai was knocking people out cold every weekend, so I’m surprised there wasn’t anything worse.

But he wasn’t just going around coward-punching people. He wasn’t intentionally going out there to hurt people or punch people or knock anyone out.

He was in fights with someone. He wasn’t trying to go out and knock out some other drunk guy from behind. There’s a very big difference.

But that’s what I’m saying — it’s a different world. That’s just the way it was for him.

He’s said it before, and I can back it up 100 percent, that everything changed the instant he found out he was going to be a dad.

Before that, he was overweight, he was a gambling addict and a little shit. He knows that, and he’ll admit it.

 

@bambamtuivasa – “hey bruv, this camera guy is taking a photo of us and I’m wearing my cup super man style” Me – “I know bro, just act natural” ?? ———— For everyone asking about the @the_halfcast_podcast , obviously with tai in Thailand and myself in USA we weren’t able to knock any out. Don’t stress though when we are both back in town we are going to do a backlog so you won’t have to wait like this again. Or at minimum , set up so we can do solo eps for the people . Thanks for your patience????

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But that’s why I’m so happy and proud of him now, because he’s become a better man. He’s dropped all the weight, he’s in great shape for this fight and he’s actually trying to show that he’s doing better than what he was.

He’s changed from that little thug who was running around.

That’s another thing that frustrates me reading social media and comment sections. People are saying that we’re glorifying that lifestyle. No, he’s talking about being better than that and doing better than the life he was bought up in.

You’ve missed the point if you just focus on the negative aspect.

I told him the other day how proud I am of him, and it got a bit awkward. He comes from somewhere where telling someone that they’re doing well isn’t a big thing on the priority list.

This weekend he’s fighting Andrei Arlovksi, who’s a very tricky guy. I trained with him once at Jackson-Wink and he caught me with a spinning heel kick that I didn’t see coming.

He’s a vet and vets are scary because they know how to win. If they’ve been around this long, they’re doing something right.

As long as Tai keeps a cool head he should be sweet. People think it’s about surviving the storm with Tai, but you’ve still got to get through that storm.

Just ask the other two blokes he’s fought — it’s no joke.