Tai Tuivasa has a fight coming up this weekend and when it is time to step into the octagon the Australian heads to Dubai. He was there preparing for his UFC Paris headliner against Cyril Gane and has used the country as a base for all his recent fights.

Tuivasa initially decided to head to Dubai to escape the draconian Covid-19 regulations in his native Australia. But he liked it so much he now conducts all his training camps there,

“I’ve been in Dubai for my past five camps. I came to Dubai because Australia was locked down with all the Covid rules. The rules over here were nowhere near as strict as Australia so we could train and we could move around and have a life essentially and work,” he told UFC.com.

Turn around

Tuivasa has won his last five fights. He has a 100% winning record in bouts which he has prepared for in Dubai and has turned his career around after a slump that saw him lose three in a row.

He is currently ranked #3 and will be in pole position for a title shot if he can overcome the #1 ranked Gane this weekend. The fight might be taking place in Europe but for Tuivasa there was never any question where he would be heading to prepare for it,

“It (training in Dubai) has really helped so I believe if it ‘aint broke don’t fix it,” he said.

His long term coach Shaun Sullivan also thinks Dubai is perfect for Tuivasa because there is none of the temptation which would be ever present in his native Australia,

“Dubai is a really good place for Tai to do his training, I’m an advocate for him to be here as much as possible when he’s preparing for a fight. In Dubai he can really focus on getting his two training sessions a day making sure he’s eating the right food and Dubai has a good balance (because) once a week he can let his hair down and go to a restaurant with friends or go to the beach and relax but its a strict place (which helps him to) stay away from the party scene that he loves so much back home.”

Psychological benefits

For Tuivasa there are also psychological benefits to being in the Middle East. It is not just about avoiding temptation but getting outside of his comfort zone,

“I think why I like it here is the rules are a bit stricter, I don’t know as many people and I like to work when I’m not comfortable. When you’re comfortable you get lazy, you get used to things.”

Tuivasa can expect a career high payday as well as a heavyweight title shot if he beats Gane. He says that being surrounded by so much in Dubai wealth also motivates him,

“Here I can walk outside and see great cars and great buildings and it reminds me how hard I have to work if I want these nicer things in life.”