UFC 284’s Tyson Pedro explains ‘enjoyable and transformative’ journey to himself as a fighter again

PERTH, Australia – Even though Tyson Pedro finished his last two opponents in the first round, he just now feels like he’s getting back into the swing of things after a lengthy layoff.

Pedro (9-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) returned to action in 2022 after four years away from the cage. It was a successful return that saw two quick victories, and he hopes to keep the momentum going against Modestas Bukauskas at UFC 284, which takes place Saturday at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.

Pedro’s original opponent Mingyang Zhang pulled out in the weeks ahead of the event, but thanks to Bukauskas (13-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) stepping up in his return to the promotion, there is still an opportunity to fight on home soil.

“It’s actually a better fight I think, for the fans anyway,” Pedro told reporters at media day. “I’m just very glad that he took it on a week’s notice because I still get to get paid.”

Making another deposit in the bank is always nice, but keeping the winning streak alive is also important to Pedro, who is hunting for a place among the top 15 at light heavyweight.

In his two appearances in 2022, Pedro finished Ike Villanueva and Harry Hunsucker with strikes in the first round. But despite that success in his return after a long time away from the cage, Pedro revealed he still didn’t feel like a fighter again.

“It’s been enjoyable and transformative,” Pedro said. “I feel like after the four years off, I was a bit lost in those four years. Even coming back, even though from the outside looking in, it looks like its all happy and everything’s going good because I’m winning in a fight, but I hadn’t really transitioned back to being a fighter again and being the person that I love being.

“So now, I’m really starting to get into the groove. I’m back being comfortable with being who I am as a fighter, as a father, and now I’m just ready to get after it.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 284.

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