Tristan Connelly had the week of his life.
With less than a week to go for UFC Vancouver, he signed a contract and stepped in on short notice to face the flashy Michel Pereira in a welterweight contest. A natural lightweight, he was a heavy underdog going into the bout.
However, he would go on to win the fight via unanimous decision and grab a huge chunk of the headlines that night. The night was made even better as in addition to his own pay and grabbing a percentage of Pereira’s purse since the latter missed weight, Connelly would also bag the whole $100,000 Fight of the Night bonus as his opponent wasn’t eligible for it.
Most importantly, he has a future with the UFC.
“The story around it is amazing,” Connelly told The Body Lock’s Mike Heck. “It’s kind of really cool to have everything come together the way it’s come together.
“One of my corners, he told me, ‘if this was a movie, I’d like be like get the f*ck out of here. Get this Hollywood bullsh*t out of my face. This isn’t real.’ I’m 33, I was 5-5 at 29. I had no reason to keep fighting.”
However, Connelly now has more than one reason to keep fighting. After his career-defining UFC debut win, his whole life has changed. And even the small things like getting props from fighters like Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone is surreal for the Canadian.
“Absolutely life-changing. Huge life-changing experience,” he explained. “At the end of the day, it felt just like a fight. [But] it was awesome going to the green room and having someone come at me, ‘John Kavanagh wants a picture with you right now.’ I’m like what? Wait a second, this is backwards. I should be the other way around.
“Then walking in the back and giving [Justin] Gaethje a fist bump before, he looked at me and said, ‘man, you’re crazy!’ I’m like, ‘that’s half of what you’ve done’ and he was like, ‘dude, I’ve only done half of what you just did.’ Cowboy and all these guys, Uriah Hall, these superstars being blown away. I’m overwhelmed with all the support and love. It’s awesome but at the end of the day, it’s just another day. I got a job to do. I got to get back to work.”
You can see the full interview below: