Sydney’s Jacob “Mamba” Malkoun will fight anyone, but not many people want to fight him. That’s kind of how he ended up in the UFC.

The 24-year-old, who was undefeated on the Australian MMA scene and struggling to find opponents, will make his Octagon debut at UFC 254 against fellow 185-er Phil Hawes. This isn’t the first time Malkoun has been to Fight Island, though.

“I was prepared to fight anyone,” he told the media afterwards. “I’d go down to welterweight or up to light heavyweight. We were ready for anything.”

Taking notice of his great attitude and 4-0 record in the cage, the UFC signed Malkoun a little while later. It came as no surprise to friend and former champ Whittaker, who enthuses, “He’s the next big thing. He’s got an amazing skillset and keeps up with me.”

Young Aussie middleweight has an old-school mentality
(Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

High praise indeed. And what’s really impressive is that Malkoun has only been serious about mixed martial arts for a handful of years.

“When I was 17, I was fat and lazy,” he laughs. “My dad got me involved in MMA to lose a bit of weight. I wasn’t too serious at the beginning, though I liked sparring. It was only when I turned 20 that I decided to start pushing harder. At grappling, boxing – all of it.”

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